A Comparative Analysis of the U.K., Canada, and U.S. Health Systems(PDF)
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Prod. Code: EB004
Health Systems are under scrutiny in the U.K, Canada, and the U.S. The increasing healthcare costs in these countries are eating deeper into their coffers, alarming both governments and the public alike. The call for measures to stop and possibly reverse this trend is becoming louder, and governments in these countries are more than ever keen to do something before it is too late, but what? Health reforms are ongoing exercises in these countries but the problems their health systems confront do not seem to want to go away. Yet, could Canada for example, afford to keep spending over 10% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on healthcare? The National Health Service (NHS) in England will be £750m in the red by the end of the FY2005, according to experts, despite its £76bn budget. Indeed, although not announced in the recent 2006 (10th) budget by U.K Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, the government plans to infuse an added £6bn into the NHS over the next two years. Meantime, the Royal Free Hospital in London announced on March 22, 2006, that it was cutting 480 jobs and 100 beds in a bid to save £25m, part of the over 2,000 job cuts announced at U.K. hospitals in the previous week. Should there not be some way to curtail the increasing healthcare costs, and to enhance the ability of NHS Trusts to deliver qualitative improvements in the health services, to which shorter hospital wait times, for example, would in part point? In the U.S, forecasts for national health spending indicate that it would continue to grow faster than gross domestic product (GDP) between 2003 and 2014 the result, projected increases in health spending as percentages of GDP from 15.3% in 2003 to 18.7% by 2014. Is it any wonder the intense ardor of governments and other healthcare stakeholders to find answers to the country’s healthcare problems? The most important challenges facing health services in these three countries are to reduce soaring healthcare costs and to improve the quality of healthcare delivery, and despite the differences in the funding models of their health systems, they face and need to solve these common problems. The theme of this e-book is an exploration of the solutions to these challenges, applicable to the three health systems, from a healthcare information and communications technologies (ICT) perspective. The e-book discusses the issues and problems peculiar to each health system and explores the commonalities that they share. Employing a process model of healthcare delivery, it analyses the operations of these systems, emphasizing the important role of healthcare ICT as the underlying strand that binds whatever processes operate in tandem to make health systems function. Taking this premise further, the e-book examines specific clinical, administrative, and financial issues, as well as healthcare delivery and health reform models and concepts, revealing their intricacies yet malleability along the continuum of increasing efficiency and effectiveness that interweaving them within a fabric of healthcare ICT could engender. This e-book offers an appraisal of healthcare processes in the three countries in-depth, a detailed review of the various issues and problems that confront their health systems, and a thorough exposition of the possible approaches to addressing their current challenges by exploiting the many opportunities that healthcare ICT offers to improve the operations of their healthcare processes. This e-book would interest the public in the three countries and elsewhere, as it provides current and detailed, yet readable information on how progress in medical knowledge and innovations in information and communications technologies create opportunities for solving the countries’ healthcare problems and shape the future are of healthcare delivery in these countries. Policymakers, healthcare professionals, public interest groups, hospital CEOs and other staff, the media, government agencies, health insurance companies, industry analysts and leaders, and other healthcare stakeholders, would also find this e-book useful and delightful to read.