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Much work about health reform and systems improvement in healthcare looks at shortcomings and universal problems facing health systems, but rarely are accomplishments…
Much work about health reform and systems improvement in healthcare looks at shortcomings and universal problems facing health systems, but rarely are accomplishments dissected and analyzed internationally. The purpose of this paper is to address this knowledge gap by examining the lessons learned from health system reform and improvement efforts in 60 countries.
In total, 60 low-, middle- and high-income countries provided a case study of successful health reform, which was gathered into a compendium as a recently published book. Here, the extensive source material was re-examined through inductive content analysis to derive broad themes of systems change internationally.
Nine themes were identified: improving policy, coverage and governance; enhancing the quality of care; keeping patients safe; regulating standards and accreditation; organizing care at the macro-level; organizing care at the meso- and micro-level; developing workforces and resources; harnessing technology and IT; and making collaboratives and partnerships work.
These themes provide a model of what constitutes successful systems change across a wide sample of health systems, offering a store of knowledge about how reformers and improvement initiators achieve their goals.
Few comparative international studies of health systems include a sufficiently wide selection of low-, middle- and high-income countries in their analysis. This paper provides a more balanced approach to consider where achievements are being made across healthcare, and what we can do to replicate and spread successful examples of systems change internationally.