International Health Policy and Practice Innovations

Across the industrialized world, health care policymakers face mounting pressure to “bend the cost curve” while at the same time maintaining access to the latest in medical technologies, improving the quality and safety of care, and making the health system more responsive to patients’ needs and preferences.

How other advanced countries address these challenges should be of particular interest to the United States, which spends far more on health care―per person and as a percentage of the nation’s economic output―than any other nation and yet receives less in return than most.

The Commonwealth Fund’s International Health Policy and Practice Innovations program seeks to learn about successful approaches taken by other advanced countries to ensure access to high-quality, cost-effective health care, and then share those lessons among our peer nations. The program promotes cross-national learning by:

  • Annually surveying the public, patients, and physicians in 11 countries to compare health system performance.
  • Organizing an annual International Symposium on Health Care Policy, attended by health ministers and senior government officials, as well as other multinational forums.
  • Sponsoring  the Harkness Fellowships in Health Policy and Practice, which enable promising health care policy researchers and practitioners in nine countries to spend up to 12 months in the U.S. conducting policy-oriented research, gaining firsthand exposure to innovative models of health care delivery, and working with leading policy experts. The fellowship has a number of international cosponsors
  • Identifying and disseminating information about health care delivery system innovations abroad that might also work in the U.S.

New Agenda