So how do international health systems compare?

When thinking about legal advocacy interventions to improve health outcomes, the inevitable question is, what health system are we talking about? Although in many respects the cross-section of health concerns may be similar across developed nations (if not the prevalence within and between different populations), it stands to reason that the variety of health service responses impacts health issues differently. That’s why the International profiles of Health Care Systems, 2011 published by the Commonwealth Fund is so useful. It offers and accessible summary and comparison of the health care systems of Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States.1

     Each summary includes data on health insurance, public and private financing, health system organization, quality of care,      

     health disparities, efficiency and integration, use of health information technology, use of evidence-based practice, cost

     containment, and recent reforms and innovations. Summary tables provide data on a number of key health system

     characteristics and performance indicators, including overall health care spending, hospital spending and utilization, health

     care access, patient safety, care coordination, chronic care management, disease prevention, capacity for quality

     improvement, and public views.2

1. (2011) The Commonwealth Fund

2. ibid


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