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Healthcare system performance improvement: A comparison of key policies in seven high-income countries

Robin Gauld (Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand)
Jako Burgers (University of Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands)
Mark Dobrow (Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada)
Rubin Minhas (BMJ Group, London, UK)
Claus Wendt (University of Siegen, Siegen, Germany)
Alan B. Cohen (School of Management, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)
Karen Luxford (CEC, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia)

Journal of Health Organization and Management

ISSN: 1477-7266

Article publication date: 11 March 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

Evidence suggests that healthcare system performance may be improved with policy emphasis on primary care, quality improvement, and information technology. The authors therefore sought to investigate the extent to which policy makers in seven countries are emphasizing these areas.

Design/methodology/approach

Policies in these three areas in seven high-income countries were compared. A comparative descriptive approach was taken in which each of the country-specialist authors supplied information on key policies and developments pertaining to primary care, quality improvement and information technology, supplemented with routine data.

Findings

Each of the seven countries faces similar challenges with healthcare system performance, yet differs in emphasis on the three key policy areas; efforts in each are, at best, patchy. The authors conclude that there is substantial scope for policy makers to further emphasize primary care, quality improvement and information technology if aiming for high-performing healthcare systems.

Originality/value

This is the first study to investigate policy-makers' commitment to key areas known to improve health system performance. The comparative method illustrates the different emphases that countries have placed on primary care, quality improvement and information technology development.

Keywords

Citation

Gauld, R., Burgers, J., Dobrow, M., Minhas, R., Wendt, C., B. Cohen, A. and Luxford, K. (2014), "Healthcare system performance improvement: A comparison of key policies in seven high-income countries", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 2-20. https://doi.org/10.1108/JHOM-03-2013-0057

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited