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Health System Performance Assessment Report

International Health Systems

Extended reading list

What follows is a list of useful texts and resources to help you identify material relevant to the topics covered in this module. It is by no means exhaustive, and you will need to carry out your own research in order to identify additional material relevant to your areas of interest. Items you may find particularly useful are marked with an asterisk (*). Many of the texts are available online, including as e-books.


Bibliographic databases

The main health-related bibliographic databases all contain relevant material. The following is a selection of those you might find most useful:

  • MEDLINE (OVID/EBSCO): huge biomedical database containing more than 13 million abstracts from more than 4,600 international journals (so plenty of policy-related material).
  • Global Health (OVID): Public Health and Tropical Medicine database and the human health and diseases information extracted from CAB
  • Health Management Information Consortium (HMIC) (OVID): a compilation of data from the UK Department of Health and King’s Fund information services. Very useful for UK-related policy
  • Health Policy Reference Center (EBSCO): “a comprehensive full-text database designed to support the informational needs of corporations, medical institutions, government agencies, and other entities relative to health ” Areas include: health care access, health care quality, health care financing, etc. Complete coverage of >200 full-text titles.
  • PDQ-Evidence ( https://www.pdq-evidence.org): access to evidence for decisions about health systems. It includes systematic reviews, broad syntheses of reviews (including evidence-based policy briefs), primary studies included in systematic reviews and structured summaries of that
  • Health Systems Evidence ( https://www.healthsystemsevidence.org): syntheses of research evidence about governance, financial and delivery arrangements within health systems, and about implementation strategies that can support change in health
  • Health Data Navigator (http://hdn.euhs-i.eu/): “an interactive platform for researchers, policy makers, and healthcare professionals to easily access health data and enhance cross-country analysis of European health systems”.
  • International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (ProQuest): produced by the London School of Focuses on anthropology, economics, politics and sociology, plus a range of interdisciplinary subjects. Especially strong on

international material.

  • EconLit (EBSCO): full text for hundreds of economics and finance journals, including many non-English.


General texts / comparative health policy (also referred to in subsequent sections)

The following is a list of general texts on, or of relevance to, the topics covered in this module, including comparative health policy. They cover numerous topics, so you are advised to consult their tables of contents to identify relevant material. They also contain useful suggestions for further reading. All are available from the Library, and a number are accessible as e-books.

*Blank, R.H. et al. (2018). Comparative Health Policy. 5th Edition. Palgrave Macmillan.

*Britnell, M. (2015). In Search of the Perfect Health System. Palgrave Macmillan.

*Carrin, G. et al. (eds.) (2009). Health Systems Policy, Finance, and Organization. Oxford: Academic Press. (A comprehensive sourcebook).

Freeman, R. & Frisina, L. (2010). ‘Health Care Systems and the Problem of Classification’. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice 12 (1-2).

Gilson, L. (ed.) (2012). Health Policy and Systems Research: A Methodology Reader. WHO. At http://www.who.int/alliance-


Johnson, J. A. & Stoskopf, C.H. (2010). Comparative health systems: global perspectives. London, Sudbury, Mass.: Jones and Bartlett. King’s Fund (2020). ‘Reading List: International health care comparisons’.

Mahon, A., Walshe, K. & Chambers, N. (eds.) (2009). A Reader in Health Policy and Management. Maidenhead: Open University Press. (Some classic papers).


*Roberts, M., Hsiao, W., Berman, P. & Reich, M. (2008). Getting Health Reform Right: A Guide to Improving Performance and Equity.

Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Smith, R.D. & Hanson, K. (eds.) (2012). Health systems in low- and middle-income countries : an economic and policy perspective.

Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2012.


Health financing and health economics

Barr, N. (2020). Economics of the Welfare State. 6th Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

*Carrin et al. (2009): Part II.

Glied, S. & Smith, P. (eds.) (2011). The Oxford Handbook of Health Economics. Oxford University Press. (Available as an e-book).

*Gottret, P. & Schieber, G. (2006). Health Financing Revisited : A Practitioner’s Guide. Washington, DC: World Bank (includes a useful Overview chapter).

Gottret , P. et al. (2008). Good practices in health financing: Lessons from reforms in low- and middle-income countries. Washington, DC: World Bank.

*Kutzin, J. (2008). Health financing policy: a guide for decision-makers, Copenhagen: WHO Europe. Mahon et al. (2009): Part 3.

*Roberts et al. (2008).

WHO (2010). World Health Report 2010 – Health systems financing: the path to universal coverage. Geneva: WHO. At


* Hofstede’s Cultural Dimension is a resource that compares cultures across countries in a business setting https://www.hofstede-insights.com/product/compare-countries/




Resource allocation, priority setting & rationing

*Blank & Burau (2018): Chapter 4.

BMJ (2008). ‘Moving forward on rationing’ (follow the links from http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/337/oct10_2/a2047). The BMJ has published a number of articles and debates on rationing over the years – search for “The rationing debate”.

Daniels, N. (2008). Just Health: Meeting Health Needs Fairly. Cambridge University Press.

*Ham, C. & Robert, G. (eds.) (2003). Reasonable Rationing: International Experience of Priority Setting in Health Care. Buckingham, Open University Press.

Hunter, D.J. (2008). ‘Priority setting in health systems’, in Hunter (2008).

*Klein, R. & Maybin, J. (2012). Thinking about rationing. King’s Fund. At http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/rationing.html. Mahon et al. (2009): Part 3.

Martin, D.K. & Benatar, S.R. (2009). ‘International Perspectives on Resource Allocation’. In Carrin et al. (2009).

Oberlander, J. (2007). ‘Health Reform Interrupted: The Unraveling Of The Oregon Health Plan’, Health Affairs 26(1): w96-w105.

*Sabik, L.M. & Lie, R.K. (2008). ‘Priority setting in health care: Lessons from the experience of eight countries’, International Journal for Equity in Health 7: 4.

Singer, P. (2009). ‘Why We Must Ration Health Care’, New York Times, July 15 2009. At:


*Williams, I., Robinson, S. & Dickinson, H. (2011). Rationing in Health Care: The Theory and Practice of Priority Setting. Policy Press.


Organisation, provision and governance

*Blank & Burau (2018): various chapters.

*Carrin et al. (2009): various chapters.

*Greer, S.L. et al (eds.) (2015). Strengthening health system governance: better policies, stronger performance. Open University Press. At http://www.euro.who.int/en/about-us/partners/observatory/publications/studies/strengthening-health-system-


Mossialos, E. et al. (eds.) (2010). Health Systems Governance in Europe: The Role of European Union Law and Policy. Cambridge University Press. At http://www.euro.who.int/en/who-we-are/partners/observatory/studies/health-systems-governance-in-


*Roberts et al. (2008).

Shortell, S. et al (2014). Accountable care organisations in the United States and England: Testing, evaluating and learning what works. London: King’s Fund. At http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/accountable-care-organisations-united-states-and-



Measuring and improving performance

Arah, O.A. et al (2003). ‘Conceptual frameworks for health systems performance: a quest for effectiveness, quality, and improvement’, International Journal for Quality in Health Care 15(5): 377-98.

Basu, S., et al. (2012). ‘Comparative Performance of Private and Public Healthcare Systems in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review’, PLoS Medicine 9(6): e1001244. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001244.

Cylus, J., Papanicolas, I. & Smith, P.C. (eds.) (2016). Health system efficiency: How to make measurement matter for policy and management. European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. At: http://www.euro.who.int/en/about-



*Mackenbach J.P. & McKee, M. (2013). ‘A comparative analysis of health policy performance in 43 European countries’, European Journal of Public Health 23(2): 195-201.


*Mossialos, E. et al (2017). International Profiles of Health Care Systems, 2015. Commonwealth Fund. At


*Papanicolas, I. & Smith, P.C. (eds.) (2013). Health system performance comparison. An agenda for policy, information and research.

Open University Press. At http://www.euro.who.int/en/about-us/partners/observatory/publications/studies/health-system-


*Roberts et al. (2008).

Smith, P. et al. (eds.). (2009). Performance measurement for health system improvement: experiences, challenges and prospects.

Cambridge University Press. At http://www.euro.who.int/en/who-we-are/partners/observatory/studies/performance-


*WHO (2000). The World Health Report – Health Systems: Improving performance. Geneva: WHO. At



Relevant organisations and resources

Commonwealth Fund: http://www.commonwealthfund.org/ (“aims to promote a high performing health care system”) UK Department for International Development (DFID): https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-

 international-development (funds research across a wide range of areas in order to drive development).

Eldis: http://www.eldis.org (aims to “share the best in development, policy, practice and research”)

European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies: http://www.euro.who.int/observatory (part of WHO: wealth of information about health policies, systems and reforms, including detailed country-based health system profiles (HiTs):


European Union (https://ec.europa.eu/info/index_en), including:

  • Health-EU Portal (the official public health portal of the EU): https://ec.europa.eu/health/home_en Kaiser Family Foundation: http://kff.org/ (US health care research)

King’s Fund: www.kingsfund.org.uk (leading UK health think-tank: many reports and briefings; plus health management/policy alerts: http://kingsfund.blogs.com/health_management/).

UK Office for National Statistics: https://www.ons.gov.uk/ OECD (http://www.oecd.org)

  • OECD iLibrary: http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/
  • Health topics: http://www.oecd.org/health/ (extensive data on health, health policy and health systems performance across OECD countries).
  • Health at a Glance: http://www.oecd.org/health/healthataglance (comparable data on different aspects of the performance of health systems in OECD countries – very comprehensive).

United Nations (http://www.un.org/en/)

  • Information and statistics on development, government systems, :

World Bank (http://www.worldbank.org/)

  • Health, Nutrition & Population: http://www.worldbank.org/hnp (information and statistics on developing countries, g. health systems, poverty and health).
  • World Development Reports: http://wdronline.worldbank.org/

World Health Organisation (http://www.who.int/)

  • Global Health Observatory: http://www.who.int/gho/ (data and analyses on global health priorities)
  • Country profiles: http://www.who.int/countries/
  • World health statistics and health information systems: http://www.who.int/evidence/ (including World Health Statistics:


  • Health financing: http://www.who.int/health_financing/ and health economics:


  • National Health Accounts (incl. global health expenditure database): http://www.who.int/nha/en/
  • Health and development: http://www.who.int/hdp/ Public attitudes to health:
  • Europe: Eurobarometer: https://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/index.cfm
  • UK: National Centre for Social Research (http://www.natcen.ac.uk) publishes the British Social Attitudes surveys:

 http://www.britsocat.com ; also Ipsos MORI (https://www.ipsos.com/ipsos-mori/en-uk)

  • Rest of world: http://www.worldpublicopinion.org.


COVID-19-related resources

  • WHO COVID-19 resources
  • COVID-19 Health System Response Monitor (WHO/EU resource)
  • Country Responses to the Covid-19 Pandemic (Cambridge Core)
  • Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Centre (including their influential tracker)
  • European Union Coronavirus Response


Last updated: June 2020

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