From Place to Place: Learning Innovations in Healthy Policy and Practice, Karen Davis, The Commonwealth Fund, February 2003
President's Report from the 2002 Annual Report
States often serve as laboratories for innovation in the health care system. A successful experiment in one place can stimulate others to take action. When national health policy seems paralyzed by division, resourceful states can take the lead in developing new solutions, using a pragmatic mix of strategies to expand health insurance coverage and improve care. Further, states are well-positioned to encourage innovation by localities or within regions.
One way to encourage thoughtful change is to create opportunities for learning. New perspectives open up when state and local leaders study firsthand the policies of other states and regions, or when national leaders examine the workings of health care systems in other countries. The Commonwealth Fund has increasingly tried to mine the rich lode of health care experiences, across the United States and internationally, for strategies to enhance health care access and quality. Through surveys, case studies, analyses of best practices, and projects to test and evaluate promising approaches, the Fund seeks a better understanding of widespread problems, geographic variations, and what can be done to close the gaps.