SiRM's evaluation of the Efficiency Studies programme offered to Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport

On Wednesday 26 September the evaluation of the Efficiency Studies (DO) programme by ZonMw (The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development) was offered to the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. Since 1999, the Efficiency Studies programme funds research on efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare. As part of the commissioning to continue DO for 2019-21, VWS requested ZonMw to evaluate DO’s process and impact. ZonMw appointed an external evaluation committee to oversee the evaluation. This independent committee consists of representatives from stakeholders (patients, researchers, policy makers and healthcare providers, institutions and insurers). It has asked the support of consultancy firm Strategies in Regulated Markets (SiRM) to execute the evaluation.

News 26 September 2018

SiRM concludes that the scientific returns of the DO programme are high. Three-quarters of the subsidised projects resulted in a scientific publication, of which 90% in international scientific journals, most of which belong to the top 25% impact factor in their scientific field.

The social returns appear to be considerable as well: public attention for healthcare efficiency has increased over the last ten years. Results of approximately 30% of the projects are implemented in guidelines.

The projects approved by the DO programme yielded high health gains and economic returns. The programme yielded nearly 7,500 quality-adjusted life years (QALY’s) and estimated economic returns of € 1.1 billion, of which € 0.3 billion as monetized QALY’s. The calculation of health gains and economic returns is based on 24 high-potential projects selected by SiRM. € 480 million of the economic returns were cost savings, of which € 280 million on healthcare spending and the remaining € 200 million on social costs. We were unable to verify the actual impact of the programme on healthcare expenditure. Cost savings in healthcare generated by DO were likely used to cover other healthcare costs.

SiRM notes that the yields of the DO programme could have been much higher: There is untapped potential as many positive research findings were not fully implemented. With ambitious yet realistic levels of implementation, the health gains could have been 13,000 QALY’s and the economic returns € 4.1 billion.


dr. Jan-Peter Heida (partner)
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Pam van der Meer (officemanager)
+31 6 21 32 55 55


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