Health system design and performance: What can other countries learn from the Nordic experience?

  • Peter C. Smith Imperial College Business School, London
Keywords: health systems, health policy


Nordic health systems are amongst the strongest in the developed world. This paper discusses their strengths and lessons for other health systems under five headings: sources of finance, provider payment, organization, regulation, and persuasion. It attributes the good performance of Nordic systems to good governance of the institutions of health care, the behaviour and attitude of citizens, and high levels of cooperation in Nordic countries. The paper notes that there is only modest use of competition or payment incentives in the provider market. It suggests that improving information on the performance of providers and other institutions is an important priority for the future.

Published: April 2016.