Health Care Analysis

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 157–163 | Cite as

Health care history

International comparisons of health care systems: Part two. medical travellers as ‘system builders’
  • Godelieve van Heteren


The accounts of Wunderlich and Lee, which have been presented in the second part of this brief series, are two representative examples of a well-respected 19th-century genre of international comparison of medical systems. Since these early comparative accounts consist of observations on medical systems by doctor-travellers at a time when intense medical reform debates about the national significance of medicine were taking place, the focus of attention is often intra-professional. In texts such as those by Wunderlich and Lee, creating coherence within a national health care system was primarily understood as constructing national coherence within the medical profession. The comparisons which derived from international travellers of the period were on the whole cast in a literary, narrative form, and were based on personal observation and occasional hands-on experience in foreign practice. The relevance of this type of publication for national policy at this early stage of national system development was defined in terms of the perceived advantages which a more detailed explication of differences between the medical educational structures, medical philosophies and practical professional roles in different nations might bring.


Medical System International Comparison National System Professional Role Care History 
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Copyright information

© John Wiley & Sons, Ltd 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Godelieve van Heteren

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