Healthcare system performance improvement

Gauld, R., Burgers, J., Dobrow, M., Minhas, R., Wendt, C., & Luxford, K. (2014). Healthcare system performance improvement: A comparison of key policies in seven high-income countries. Journal of Health Organization and Management, 28(1), 2-20.

  1. Performance of healthcare systems in 7 countries

The U.S healthcare systems can be measured and policies implemented just like any other country’s system. The health care systems performance is measured mainly through three measurement standards. The primary care, quality improvement and information technology policies comparisons among various countries depict some variances depending on the system’s environment. In the article, seven developed countries statistics on the healthcare system are researched on then compared. The seven countries include; Australia, England, Germany, U.S.A, New Zealand, Canada, and Netherlands.  The seven market-based economies have separate methods of financing healthcare. Tax-financed healthcare systems are observed in Australia, Canada, England and New Zealand. Insurance takes different forms in each country despite being a source of finances. The type of the political system impacts the healthcare system performance due to the policies that are set and implemented. While England, New Zealand and The Netherlands have unitary, centralized political systems, the rest have federal political systems (Gauld et al., 2014).

  1. Comparison of primary care performance of healthcare systems

Primary care is the pillar of healthcare systems in all the seven countries. Five out of the seven countries have primary care under the healthcare systems. Physicians get the first contact with patients then referred to specialized treatment. However, in England, New Zealand and The Netherlands, the policies formulated allows practitioners to enroll patients at all levels thus coverage regarding the health care is excellent. Primary care physicians working as sole practitioners vary in the seven countries. U.S differs from the other six countries for not having universal access to primary care services. The finance model in most of these countries is co-payment at the point of services and forms part of the physician remuneration package. Surveys such as from the Commonwealth ranks countries and variation in performance across healthcare systems. Those countries with a strong and reliable primary care have minimal cases of diminishing health standards as the accessibility of health care becomes featured in the health care system (Gauld et al., 2014).

  1. Evaluation of healthcare systems based on quality improvement

The efforts to improve healthcare quality are unanimous in the seven countries reports. National quality indicators in reports reflect the perpetual commitment by the governments and healthcare practitioners to improve the standards regardless of it being primary care or the specialized health care services. Initiatives by the countries’ governments, policy formulations, and practical efforts have all been blended to yield improvement in the quality of the healthcare systems. In New Zealand, for instance, the government has laced quality improvement schemes since 2003 as written policies. However, the practical efforts to create an effective system lack in the systems thus slow quality improvement in healthcare systems. The same history is traced in the other countries until around 2010. Currently, regular inspections and agencies employment to steer quality improvement are producing fruits. Financial incentives for performance improvement in U.S have increased the potential of improving health care systems (Gauld et al., 2014).

  1. Findings on Information Technology Applicability

Explicit policies have been formulated by 6 of the seven countries to promote health care through information technology. Germany is the only country that does not emphasize on health information technology according to various studies. Use of EHRs and other IT applications have been engaged with patients so as to improve the use amongst healthcare providers (Goodall, 2011). England tops the list with the initiatives to make centralized health records. Implementation of systems under such circumstances, however, experiences serious technical hitches and are over costly. The U.S.A implementation of the IT initiatives focuses on reaching the local health providers so as they can improvise their systems. The coordination of the IT strategies varies depending on the government system. Under the Federal governments, the implementation is slower, and few initiatives are done compared to centralized forms of the government. Efforts by each country’s government in improving the healthcare systems is necessary especially in reducing patient’s accessibility to primary care (Gauld et al., 2014).