Experts suggest NHS and US health care systems learn from each other
Medical experts from the USA and the UK have suggested in their Health Policy paper that the health care systems of both countries should share ideas.
Though the healthcare systems of the USA and the UK differ greatly, they have much to learn from each other as they are both currently undergoing significant reforms.
Dr Jennifer Dixon, Director of the Nuffield Trust, and Professor David Blumenthal, Harvard University, pointed out that there are three key areas were valuable lessons might be gained. Those areas are financing, organisation, and information technology.
According to Dr Dixon, comparing health reforms in the USA and the UK is a unique project. Many people in both countries view the health system of the other as nigh unworkable.
Both countries, however, are under great pressure to get more value out of health care spending and reduce growth in expenditure to sustainable levels. Therefore, they are experimenting with new ways to encourage clinicians, patients, and institutions to help achieve this.
In the comparative analysis, the authors highlight specific areas where country-specific expertise could prove relevant.
For instance, they point out that the transparency and analytical rigour required to assess growth in spending in the USA could prove helpful in the UK. A shortfall of £20 billion is predicted by 2015 in the UK, although the calculations behind it remain largely "opaque and unchallenged".
Conversely, lessons learned from the UK's rollout of universal electronic health care records could prove helpful in the USA. It has so far struggled to create a system linking hospital inpatient and outpatient care records electronically.
Professor Blumenthal adds that both health care systems have the same aim. They want to enable well-intentioned and well-trained professionals and institutions to deliver efficient and effective service despite challenging resource constraints.
He also claims that policy makers and health care managers in both countries should not miss an opportunity to make progress by learning from each other and from other international examples.