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Table 1 Different units of analysis in health services comparison and related terms

From: Evaluation of an integrated system for classification, assessment and comparison of services for long-term care in Europe: the eDESDE-LTC study

Descriptor Complete name Definition
Facility Health facility A physical structure (building or dwelling) where care is provided (BSICs are delivered in care facilities).
Service Health service (generic) A ‘service’ is an umbrella term that is used to describe very different components of the organization of care typically at the micro-level functional system. It could refer to facilities, organizational arrangements within a facility, health deliverables such as programs and interventions or health products.
  Service delivery* Combination of inputs into a service production process that delivers health interventions to individuals or to the community.
  Health product* The result of the interaction of capital, labor and entrepreneurship in the production process which has the primary purpose of improving, maintaining or preventing the deterioration of the health status of persons mitigating the consequences of ill-health defined as the smallest unit with own administrative structure available within the local area (micro-organization). The range of services to be considered includes those facilities that have as specific aim any aspect of the management of health care and of the clinical and social difficulties related to it.
  Health services* Products over which ownership rights cannot be established, although they typically generate changes in the conditions of the consuming units, including health benefits for the receiving individuals. They cannot be traded separately from their production, and they are the result of the activities of producers at the demand of consumers.
BSIC Basic stable input of care Is the minimal organizational unit composed by a set of inputs with temporal stability arranged for delivering health related care to a defined population in a care area. It is usually composed of an administrative unit with an organized set of structures and professionals. Within the production model of health related care (input-throughput-output), BSIC refers only to functions of care and not to other inputs (devices, facilities) or to procedures (interventions). The functions provided by this unit care can be described by the main type of care provided by the BSIC. The operational description of BSIC depends on its main characteristics (organization, staff, location and target population).
MTC Main type of care MTC is the main DESCRIPTOR of the ‘generic care function’ provided by the BSIC. The generic care function typically describes the principal activity carried out in the BSIC (e.g. the user sleeps in a setting where a physician is available 24 hours a day).
   MTCs have been selected in an iterative process by a series of expert groups based on the actual description of services in different Countries within the consecutive ESMS/DESDE projects.
  1. (*) SHA 2.0 System of Health Accounts 2.0.