20 Mar 11
By L Quam, R Smith
The NHS and US insurance based health systems seem worlds apart. Despite the differences, each has much to learn from examples of good practice in the other
Learning within clinical medicine often spreads rapidly across the globe. Once an innovation—for example, thrombolysis for patients with heart attacks—is accepted, it is likely to be picked up rapidly in most countries. This is because cardiologists travel to world meetings, know each other well, read the same international journals, and are encouraged to innovate by global pharmaceutical companies. In stark contrast, innovations in how care is organised and delivered have rarely spread. We examine why countries have not been good at learning from each other and some of the areas where learning between the United Kingdom and United States could be beneficial.