On SAGE Insight: The performance of the Canadian and Australian health systems

From Healthcare Management Forum

Canada and Australia share similarities in political culture, values, and institutional arrangements. Both are federations with a large land area, low population density, and many remote areas. One point of difference is that Canada has a larger proportion of residents living in rural/remote areas than Australia, 18% versus 10%.

Using three data sets, each providing an overview of health service delivery in high-income countries, this article provides a high-level comparative analysis of health system performance against specified key performance indicators in both countries. The Health Access and Quality (HAQ) Index and the Commonwealth Fund reports were used in this study. This is supported by statistical data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to further explore the differences between the two countries. Performance ratings of Australia are generally better than Canada, the one-sidedness of the ratings should be a major cause for concern in Canada. The article explored three factors where significant policy and structural differences exist between Canada and Australia and conclude Canada needs to look more closely at an increased federal role and the introduction of a national pharmaceutical program. The authors hope that this article will encourage health leaders to conduct more targeted research and take action in these two areas. Although more research is required on the connections between these policy changes and health outcomes, it is believed these two developments would enhance the performance of the Canadian system.

Abstract

Using three data sets, each providing an overview of health service delivery in high-income countries, this article provides a high-level comparative analysis of health system performance against specified key performance indicators in two jurisdictions: Canada and Australia. Several variations, nuances, and points of comparison between delivery and organization of care are discussed. The article examines three policy and structural differences that may help explain the comparatively superior performance of the Australian system on most indicators, and two key areas of improvement for the Canadian system were illuminated: a stronger central government role and a national pharmaceutical plan. It is hoped that this article will empower health leaders to take action in these areas.

Read this article in full here

Article details
The performance of the Canadian and Australian health systems
Donald J. Philippon, Gregory P. Marchildon, Kristiana Ludlow, Claire Boyling,
First Published September 24, 2018 Research Article
DOI: 10.1177/0840470418788378
Healthcare Management Forum

     
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