Sunday, August 12, 2007

NY Times editorial on why the U.S. doesn't have the world's best health system

The Times' editorial looks at the Commonwealth Fund's recent international report card that compared the U.S. with Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, and the U.K. In the words of the Commonwealth Fund:

the U.S. health care system ranks last or next-to-last on five dimensions of a high performance health system: quality, access, efficiency, equity, and healthy lives. The U.S. is the only country in the study without universal health insurance coverage, partly accounting for its poor performance on access, equity, and health outcomes. The inclusion of physician survey data also shows the U.S. lagging in adoption of information technology and use of nurses to improve care coordination for the chronically ill.
Bottom line for the New York Times editorialist:
With health care emerging as a major issue in the presidential campaign and in Congress, it will be important to get beyond empty boasts that this country has “the best health care system in the world” and turn instead to fixing its very real defects. The main goal should be to reduce the huge number of uninsured, who are a major reason for our poor standing globally. But there is also plenty of room to improve our coordination of care, our use of computerized records, communications between doctors and patients, and dozens of other factors that impair the quality of care. The world’s most powerful economy should be able to provide a health care system that really is the best.
The Commonwealth Fund's report card on U.S. states (previously mentioned here) is also worth a close look.
posted by tommayo, 9:44 AM

Health care law (including public health law, medical ethics, and life sciences), with digressions into constitutional law, poetry, and other things that matter