Validation and application of a needs-based segmentation tool for cross-country comparisons.



To compare countries' health care needs by segmenting populations into a set of needs-based health states.

Data sources

We used seven waves of the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) panel survey data.

Study design

We developed the Cross-Country Simple Segmentation Tool (CCSST), a validated clinician-administered instrument for categorizing older individuals by distinct, homogeneous health and related social service needs. Using clinical indicators, self-reported physician diagnosis of chronic disease, and performance-based tests conducted during the survey interview, individuals were assigned to 1-5 global impressions (GI) segments and assessed for having any of the four identifiable complicating factors (CFs). We used Cox proportional hazard models to estimate the risk of mortality by segment. First, we show the segmentation cross-sectionally to assess cross-country differences in the fraction of individuals with different levels of medical needs. Second, we compare the differences in the rate at which individuals transition between those levels and death.

Data collection/extraction methods

We segmented 270,208 observations (from Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland) from 96,396 individuals into GI and CF categories.

Principal findings

The CCSST is a valid tool for segmenting populations into needs-based states, showing Switzerland with the lowest fraction of individuals in high medical needs segments, followed by Denmark and Sweden, and Poland with the highest fraction, followed by Italy and Israel. Comparing hazard ratios of transitioning between health states may help identify country-specific areas for analysis of ecological and cultural risk factors.


The CCSST is an innovative tool for aggregate cross-country comparisons of both health needs and transitions between them. A cross-country comparison gives policy makers an effective means of comparing national health system performance and provides targeted guidance on how to identify strategies for curbing the rise of high-need, high-cost patients.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Duminy, Lize, Nirmali Ruth Sivapragasam, David Bruce Matchar, Abhijit Visaria, John Pastor Ansah, Carl Rudolf Blankart and Lukas Schoenenberger (2021). Validation and application of a needs-based segmentation tool for cross-country comparisons. Health services research, 56 Suppl 3(S3). pp. 1394–1404. 10.1111/1475-6773.13873 Retrieved from

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David Bruce Matchar

Professor of Medicine

My research relates to clinical practice improvement - from the development of clinical policies to their implementation in real world clinical settings. Most recently my major content focus has been cerebrovascular disease. Other major clinical areas in which I work include the range of disabling neurological conditions, cardiovascular disease, and cancer prevention.
Notable features of my work are: (1) reliance on analytic strategies such as meta-analysis, simulation, decision analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis; (2) a balancing of methodological rigor the needs of medical professionals; and (3) dependence on interdisciplinary groups of experts.
This approach is best illustrated by the Stroke Prevention Patient Outcome Research Team (PORT), for which I served as principal investigator. Funded by the AHCPR, the PORT involved 35 investigators at 13 institutions. The Stroke PORT has been highly productive and has led to a stroke prevention project funded as a public/private partnership by the AHCPR and DuPont Pharma, the Managing Anticoagulation Services Trial (MAST). MAST is a practice improvement trial in 6 managed care organizations, focussing on optimizing anticoagulation for individuals with atrial fibrillation.
I serve as consultant in the general area of analytic strategies for clinical policy development, as well as for specific projects related to stroke (e.g., acute stroke treatment, management of atrial fibrillation, and use of carotid endarterectomy.) I have worked with AHCPR (now AHRQ), ACP, AHA, AAN, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NSA, WHO, and several pharmaceutical companies.
Key Words: clinical policy, disease management, stroke, decision analysis, clinical guidelines

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