June 10, 2020 – Why have some nations seemed better equipped than others to address the health needs of their people during the COVID-19 pandemic? Understanding the key features of health care systems that better position them to ensure access to care, promote equity and coordination in the delivery of services, and mobilize an effective public health response can shed light on this question.

The completely updated and revised 2020 edition of the Commonwealth Fund’s International Profiles of Health Care Systems reveals the ins and outs of health systems in 20 nations, covering such topics as:

  • how health care is organized, financed, and governed
  • how quality and equity are monitored and assured
  • how care is coordinated
  • how costs and spending are controlled.

New sections describe how universal health coverage works in the countries that have it; how medical education is organized and funded; and how much patients pay out of pocket for basic services.

“The profiles can be used as part of a broader analytical toolkit for understanding why the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on some countries compared to others,” say researchers with the Commonwealth Fund and LSE Health. In a new post on To the Point, they identify governance and regulatory structures that have allowed countries to track the spread of infectious diseases while ensuring affordable access to treatment and essential services.

Begin your exploration of health care around the world:

The mission of The Commonwealth Fund is to promote a high-performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society’s most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, and people of color. www.commonwealthfund.org