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Explanation – is the variation between countries adequately explained?

Assessment 3: Major Essay – Health Systems Comparison
Assessment Item 3: Analysis of Health Care Systems
Word Limit: 3,000 words
Marks: Assignment marked out of 100; assignment is worth 50% of total course mark
BACKGROUND TO THIS ASSESSMENT
Health Leaders are often interested to see how our national experiences of health and health care compare on an international scale. These comparisons create a broader perspective for researchers, policymakers and the general public. Being aware of the successes and setbacks of other countries may inform how new policies, health interventions or preventative measures are developed and implemented in one’s own country. International health comparisons can help making valid comparisons of health across different countries however it is important that comparison is possible.
The paper you produce for this assignment will require careful consideration and use of international comparisons. If the data and methods that underlie these correlations have significant gaps (as in years of non-collection), there could be invalidity of the results. There are methodological issues to consider in assessing data availability and quality, and in deciding which countries to compare.
You should ensure that there is clear documentation of any decisions about the data used and the countries selected should provide adequate rationale providing the limitations and assumptions are clear and duly considered. These decisions can influence the differences observed between countries and the conclusions reached. The following check-list will assist the preparation of the required evidence to undertake this comparison.
CHECKLIST FOR COMPARATIVE INFORMATION:
Consider the following points when presenting or interpreting an international comparison of health-related data.
Data quality
• Consistency- are the data defined consistently across countries?
• Methodology – do all countries use the same method to collect the data?
• Coverage – the data cover similar parts of the population? 
• Time Period – do the data refer to the same 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 an international comparison?
Where no data is available on the individual measure, you must indicate this clearly but be sure that you carefully research to make sure that this is, in fact, the case.
IMPORTANT: You should also provide commentary (as a results of your research and analysis) on each of the five areas of comparison thus interpreting the results.
THE TASK (word Limit: 3,000 words)
You are to research and analyse healthcare performance data in at least two countries one of which must be Australia. In no more than 3,000 words, compare both countries broken down into the five (5) areas listed below.
(Be careful to pick the other country that is comparable and has the quality of data required to complete the comparison).
1. Funding
1.1 Funding System (including health insurance systems);
1.2 % GDP spent on health
2. System governance arrangements in the country (i.e. who is responsible for what)
3. Population Health Indicators
3.1 Maternal Mortality Rate;
3.2 Infant Mortality Rate;
3.3 Life Expectancy at Birth
4. Health System Performance Indicators:
Incidence of:
4.1 Low birth weight infants
4.2 Obesity
4.3 Diabetes
4.4 Asthma
4.5 Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

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