Health Care Administration students tour clinics and hospitals in the U.K.
by Carlos Anchondo ’14
For the second consecutive year, the Trinity University Department of Health Care Administration touched down in London for a weeklong study tour of the United Kingdom’s health sector. Three faculty members, seven master’s students, and one alumna comprised the Trinity group. The trip, held from July 16-23, allowed faculty and students to compare the U.S. health care model with the U.K.’s National Health Service. The group toured University College Hospital, the Hounslow Practice, the Wellington Hospital, Harley Street Clinic, and the London Bridge Hospital, in addition to other destinations.
The trip was designed so that students and practicing health care administrators could gain a deeper perspective into the planning and implementation of management and administrative systems. Among other topics, the group learned about the principal challenges facing the NHS, how the NHS delivers primary and community-based care, and how private hospitals operate within a free health care system.
Edward Schumacher, professor and chair of the Department of Health Care Administration, called the trip an “eye-opening experience” into a “health care system very different from ours.”
“What struck me is that the British resolved that health care is a right and they have established social norms around that right,” Schumacher says.
Schumacher adds that there is no perfect health care system, but by studying different models health care officials can learn from varying perspectives and grow stronger programs as a result. He noted that both American and British doctors share similar concerns about quality and patient safety, as well as the ability to measure and control outcomes.
Todd Thames, a Trinity adjunct faculty member and a physician partner at the Health by Design medical clinic, also participated in the trip and commented on the U.K.’s decision to provide free health care coverage to all citizens. He notes that despite sparing between the Labour and Tory parties, the “commitment remains strong to keep the NHS essentially intact.”
Thames points out that the U.K. has been slow to embrace electronic health record systems, but that “overall quality of health care delivery” is still high across the board.
“In general, clinical outcomes in the U.K. remain extremely good,” Thames says. “Capital has been spent on care delivery rather than aesthetics, but available medical technology is modern and consistent with contemporary practice of medicine in the U.S.”
Amer Kaissi, professor health care administration, said the department already has plans in the works to run to London in July of 2017. Kaissi adds that he and colleagues are also considering the possibility of expanding the study tour to other countries. For more information about the London study tour, contact Kaissi at amer.kaissi [at] trinity.edu.
Carlos Anchondo is a writer and editor for Strategic Communications and Marketing. He is a 2014 graduate of Trinity and can be found at @cjanchondo or at canchond [at] trinity.edu.