A working guide to international comparisons of health
Karen Bishop, Lisa Sainsbury and Shelley Thompson
Cat. no. PHE 159.
Available online PDF [27p.] at: http://bit.ly/IziGfS
“……Health care systems around the world are diverse. They vary in the way they are financed, how services are delivered and how health information is collected and used. Their evolution may have been influenced by the country’s political, cultural and historical experiences. Despite these differences, many countries share the same health goals and face similar health challenges. This makes international comparisons of health experiences an important tool to inform priorities and policies for health services and to monitor progress in achieving health objectives…..”
“…….The guide is intended to encourage users of international health-related data to consider the complexities before comparing countries, and to assist them in interpreting the results of these comparisons. It presents examples to highlight the types of questions to ask when using health data in an international context….. …..”
Checklist for international comparisons of health
Consistency—are the data defined consistently across countries?
Methodology—do all countries use the same method to collect the data?
Coverage—do the data cover similar parts of the population?
Time period—do the data refer to the same time period?
Choice of countries
Comparability—are countries sufficiently similar to support comparison?
Presentation and interpretation
Presentation—are the data presented appropriately?
Explanation—is the variation between countries adequately explained?
Underlying differentials—are differences within countries considered?
Context—can the data be used outside of the international comparison?
How can health be compared between countries?
Sources and uses of international health-related data
How this guide is structured
2 Making comparisons: considerations and complexities
Are the data defined consistently across countries?
Do all countries use the same method to collect the data?
Do the data cover similar parts of the population?
Do the data refer to the same time period?
Choice of countries
Are countries sufficiently similar to support comparison?
Presentation of results
Are the data presented appropriately?
Is the variation between countries adequately explained?
Are differences within countries considered?
Can the data be used outside of an international comparison?
Checklist for international comparisons of health-related data
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