A Framework for Health System Comparisons: The Health Systems in Transition (HiT) Series of the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies

Reference work entry
Part of the Health Services Research book series (HEALTHSR)


Comparing health systems across countries allows policy-makers to make informed decisions on how to strengthen their systems. The European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies produces a series of profiles that systematically describe health systems – the HiTs. These capture how a health system is organized, how funds flow through the system, and what care it provides. They follow a common template and are updated periodically. They allow policy-makers and academics to understand each system individually in light of its previous development and in the context of other European health systems. In effect, the HiTs provide a framework for comparison across countries. This chapter describes the Observatory’s experience in developing the framework. It explores the role of the HiT template, the processes put in place to support consistency and comparability, and the efforts to build in policy relevance. It highlights the lessons learned so far and what they might contribute to the development of other comparative frameworks.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, London School of Hygiene and Tropical MedicineLondonUK
  2. 2.European Observatory on Health Systems and PoliciesBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Technische Universität BerlinBerlinGermany
  4. 4.Department Health Care Management, Faculty of Economics and ManagementTechnische UniversitätBerlinGermany
  5. 5.London School of Hygiene and Tropical MedicineLondonUK
  6. 6.London School of Economics and Political ScienceLondonUK
  7. 7.Berlin University of TechnologyBerlinGermany
  8. 8.European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, Department of Health Care ManagementBerlin University of TechnologyBerlinGermany

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