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International Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic

2DKAPMD Health care workers wait for visitors to a new temporary walk-in COVID-19 testing site in Seoul, South Korea on Monday, December 14, 2020. The government opened over 150 free testing centers to combat a severe COVID-19 outbreak. Photo by Thomas Maresca/UPI
A study identifies effective practices in 5 countries, seeking guidance to support U.S. health care
  • Client
    Commonwealth Fund
  • Dates
    2020 - 2021

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the U.S. health care delivery system—including hospitals and other facilities, health care workers, payers, and policymakers—has faced unprecedented challenges. NORC at the University of Chicago worked on behalf of the Commonwealth Fund to explore how five diverse countries--Australia, Finland, Germany, Singapore, and South Korea--adapted and innovated to meet the challenges of operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our goal was to identify lessons for care delivery in the United States. NORC convened an advisory board of U.S. health care experts and conducted literature reviews and 20+ interviews with experts from selected countries to collect examples of effective health care delivery practices and innovations. 

Our findings—published in an issue brief—suggest that a fast, effective response depends on data systems that facilitate decision-making and communication. The United States had no existing data systems to assess the state of the pandemic response across the country and no consistent communications between health system leaders, government, and residents. Better planning and investment can help the United States prepare for a wide range of public health threats.

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