A framework for comparative analysis of health systems: experiences from the Asia Pacific Observatory on Health Systems and Policies.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Drawing on published work from the Asia Pacific Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, this paper presents a framework for undertaking comparative studies on the health systems of countries. Organized under seven types of research approaches, such as national case-studies using a common format, this framework is illustrated using studies of low- and middle-income countries published by the Asia Pacific Observatory. Such studies are important contributions, since much of the health systems research literature comes from high-income countries. No one research approach, however, can adequately analyse a health system, let alone produce a nuanced comparison of different countries. Multiple comparative studies offer a better understanding, as a health system is a complex entity to describe and analyse. Appreciation of context and culture is crucial: what works in one country may not do so in another. Further, a single research method, such as performance indicators, or a study of a particular health system function or component, produces only a partial picture. Applying a comparative framework of several study approaches helps to inform and explain progress against health system targets, to identify differences among countries, and to assess policies and programmes. Multi-method comparative research produces policy-relevant learning that can assist countries to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3: ensure healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages by 2030.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Healy, JM; Tang, S; Patcharanarumol, W; Annear, PL

Published Date

  • April 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 7 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 5 - 12

PubMed ID

  • 29582843

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2304-5272

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.4103/2224-3151.228421


  • eng

Conference Location

  • India