The value of cross-national learning in health care

From the Commonwealth Fund:

Last month, a series of Commonwealth Fund–supported articles in Health Affairs brought to light international efforts to achieve better health care at lower costs. In a new blog post, Commonwealth president David Blumenthal, M.D., and vice president Robin Osborn, director of the International Practice and Innovations program, discuss the findings and explain why cross-national studies of fundamental health care issues are so important: they show where the U.S., and other countries, can do better, as well as the high levels of performance that are possible.

The authors point out that the health system overhaul now under way in the U.S. is unique in its scope—and may offer lessons to our peer nations. Total U.S. health spending in 2011 was $2.7 trillion, an amount larger than the economies of all but four nations.

“The dramatic changes in our health care system are worth close observation,” Blumenthal and Osborn say. “Both drawing from and contributing to the body of international health policy research will be an important responsibility for health services researchers and policymakers going forward.”

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