The challenge of benchmarking health systems: is ICT innovation capacity more systemic than organizational dependent?

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The article by Catan et al. presents a benchmarking exercise comparing Israel and Portugal on the implementation of Information and Communication Technologies in the healthcare sector. Special attention was given to e-Health and m-Health. The authors collected information via a set of interviews with key stakeholders. They compared two different cultures and societies, which have reached slightly different implementation outcomes. Although the comparison is very enlightening, it is also challenging. Benchmarking exercises present a set of challenges, such as the choice of methodologies and the assessment of the impact on organizational strategy. Precise benchmarking methodology is a valid tool for eliciting information about alternatives for improving health systems. However, many beneficial interventions, which benchmark as effective, fail to translate into meaningful healthcare outcomes across contexts. There is a relationship between results and the innovational and competitive environments. Differences in healthcare governance and financing models are well known; but little is known about their impact on Information and Communication Technology implementation. The article by Catan et al. provides interesting clues about this issue. Public systems (such as those of Portugal, UK, Sweden, Spain, etc.) present specific advantages and disadvantages concerning Information and Communication Technology development and implementation. Meanwhile, private systems based fundamentally on insurance packages, (such as Israel, Germany, Netherlands or USA) present a different set of advantages and disadvantages - especially a more open context for innovation. Challenging issues from both the Portuguese and Israeli cases will be addressed. Clearly, more research is needed on both benchmarking methodologies and on ICT implementation strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number43
JournalIsrael Journal of Health Policy Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2015


  • Benchmarking
  • Complexity
  • eHealth
  • Health policies
  • ICT
  • Innovation


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