International Comparison of Health System Characteristics
Note: Before completing this Discussion, please familiarize yourself with the Week 6 Discussion Rubric located in the Course Information area of the course navigation menu.
How does the U.S. health care delivery system compare with other countries’ health care delivery systems? What is the relationship of a country’s economic resources to health outcomes? How does the funding of services influence access to care? How does government involvement in health care delivery inform the patient/consumer experience?
There are no simple answers to the questions above. Yet, health care administrators must engage in thoughtful, ongoing inquiry into questions such as these in order to gain a well-rounded perspective on health care delivery. In this week’s Assignment, you will analyze and compare data to deepen your understanding of the U.S. health care delivery system, as well as other health care delivery systems around the world. Your examination of data can provide valuable insights, but it is also important to consider the context surrounding health care expenditures and outcomes. In this Discussion, you will examine health system characteristics, such as government involvement and funding of health care delivery in the United States and other nations.
For this Discussion and this week’s Assignment, select two countries to compare with the United States in terms of health care (i.e., compare the same countries in both the Discussion and Assignment). One country must be a developed country, and the other must be considered a developing (low- or middle-income) country: as much as possible, select countries that are of similar size. To identify the development level of countries, use the following resources found in this week’s Learning Resources:
- The International Statistical Institute: Developing Countries
- World Bank: Country and Lending Groups
Next, review the information in the Learning Resources related to health system characteristics, particularly Chapter 1 in the Shi and Singh textbook. Research the characteristics of the U.S. health care delivery system and the systems of your selected countries using credible websites, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) site, found in this week’s Learning Resources.
Consider the following questions as you research each country:
- How is the health system organized? Is there a central governing agency?
- How does an individual gain access to needed services, including specialized care?
- How are health care services paid for? For example, does the country have a national health system with tax-funded coverage, a health insurance system with a single payer, a health insurance system with multiple insurers, or something else?
- What benefits do people in this country experience because of the health system’s characteristics? For instance, are people guaranteed access to health care services? Do patients receive well-coordinated care because their health information is readily available to providers through an integrated technology system? Do they have a great deal of choice when selecting physicians?
- What challenges do people in this country encounter? For instance, is there typically a long wait to see a specialist? Do patients encounter adverse effects because medical supplies are not readily available? Are health care services prohibitively expensive for most people?
Post by Day 3 a substantive and cohesive response to the following:
- Analyze two or more defining characteristics of the U.S. health care system.
- Provide an analysis of how these characteristics compare to the characteristics of the health care systems of your selected countries. (Be sure to identify the countries in your posting.)
- Evaluate potential benefits and challenges for people in your selected countries based on the health system characteristics you have identified.
General Guidance on Discussion Posts: Your original post, due by Day 3, will typically be 3–4 paragraphs in length (not including references) as a general expectation/estimate. Refer to the Week 6 Discussion Rubric for grading elements and criteria. Your Instructor will use the rubric to assess your work.
Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings. Begin engaging with at least two of your colleagues. (Try to select individuals who chose different countries than you did.)