Comparative Health Systems

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This course uses comparative analysis of health care systems to gain a better understanding of health care systems in several high-income, middle-income and low-income countries. One focus of analysis in this course will therefore be to develop a better knowledge of these health care systems. A second focus will be to use to this analysis to gain a better understanding of the health care system in the United States. This analysis is relevant for those who are directly interested in the United States, but it is also relevant for those students who are seeking to enhance knowledge of the health care systems in their home countries by gaining a better understanding of the United States’ health care system.

A comparative analysis of health systems will help managers and health care professionals who are responsible for optimizing organizational outcomes by improving the quality of health care and simultaneously reducing the costs of health care. The course will use of a combination of the World Health Organization building blocks framework along with theories of complex systems to establish a framework to compare health systems in a number of high-income, middle-income, and low-income countries. This analysis will develop the capacity of managers to critically evaluate relationships between their organizations and the broader set of interactions between the building blocks that make up particular health care systems.


Foundations of Comparative Health Systems
-This module will define the goals of comparative analysis of health systems, define the concept of universal health coverage, and introduce the World Health Organization Building Blocks Framework as the methodology for that analysis.

The United States - A High-Income Country Without Universal Healthcare
-This module explores the peculiarities of the U.S. healthcare system by examining the system through the lens of the WHO Building Blocks Framework.

Germany and England - Self-Governing Systems of Healthcare
-This module examines the health systems of Germany and England - two high-income countries that have committed to systems of universal health coverage but in different ways.

Brazil and China - Middle-Income Countries Moving Towards Universal Health Coverage
-In the final module of the course, we examine two large middle-income countries and the challenges they face while moving towards systems of universal health coverage.