Across the globe, health care policymakers face mounting pressure to “bend the cost curve” while maintaining access to the latest in medical technologies, improving quality and safety, 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 than any other nation and yet receives less in return than most.

The Commonwealth Fund’s International Health Policy and Practice Innovations program believes that despite differences in how they organize and finance health care, other countries have a lot to offer U.S. delivery system leaders and policymakers seeking new solutions. The program focuses on:

  • Building an international network of health policy experts and leaders for cross-national research projects and information exchange.
  • Benchmarking U.S. health system performance against other high-income nations.
  • Providing a forum for high-level policy discussion and presentation of effective international approaches to health policy and care delivery.
  • Facilitating the transfer of effective care delivery innovations from abroad to the U.S.

To benchmark health system performance in the U.S., the international program annually surveys patients and clinicians in 11 high-income countries on topics like financial barriers to care, chronic disease management, and satisfaction with care. It also hosts the annual International Symposium on Health Care Policy with health ministers, senior government officials, and leading policy thinkers, as well as Capitol Hill briefings with congressional and executive staff. The Harkness Fellowships in Health Policy and Practice, meanwhile, brings promising policy researchers and practitioners in eight countries to the U.S. to gain firsthand exposure to our health care delivery system.

To support the transfer of best practices from around the world to the U.S., the international program most recently has focused on frontline delivery system innovation, low-value care, and pharmaceutical pricing and policy.

Program Contact:

Reginald D. Williams II, Vice President