Tuesday, May 15, 2007

TRUE COSTS OF OUR CRAZY HEALTH CARE SYSTEM

VIDURA PANDITARATNE, PRESSESC - A Commonwealth Fund report reveals that despite spending more than twice as much per capita on health care as other nations ($6,102 vs. $2,571 for the median of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries in 2004) the US spends far less on health information technology - just 43 cents per capita, compared with about $192 per capita in the UK. . .

In Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: An International Update on the Comparative Performance of American Health Care, by Karen Davis, Ph. D., and colleagues, compare surveys on physicians' and patients' experiences and views of their health systems conducted in Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, the UK, and the US between 2004 and 2006.

Key findings include:

- On measures of quality, the U.S. overall ranked 5th out of 6 countries. The U.S. ranked fifth in coordinated care, and last in patients reporting that they have a regular doctor (84% vs. 92%-97% in other countries).

- On access measures the U.S. ranked last overall, including last on timeliness of care: 61% of U.S. patients said it was somewhat or very difficult to get care on nights or weekends, compared with 25%-59% in other countries.

- On efficiency, the U.S. ranked last overall, including last on percent of patients who have visited the emergency room for conditions that could have been treated by a regular doctor if one had been available (26% vs. 6%-21% in other countries).

Multinational Comparisons of Health Systems Data, 2006, by Jonathan Cylus and Gerard Anderson, Ph.D., of The Johns Hopkins University, compares health spending data in nine Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States and, where possible, the median of all 30 OECD countries.

Key findings include:

- In 2004 the US spent the most per capita on hospital services, and Canada and Japan spent the least. Adjusted for differences in cost of living, inpatient acute care spending per day in the United States was nearly three times the median OECD country ($2,337) and over five times more than Japan ($419).

- The US spent twice the OECD median per capita on drugs in 2004 - $752 compared with $377.

- Nearly one-third (30.6%) of individuals in the US were obese in 2004, compared with 13 percent of the OECD median.

- The US had about two and a half times the OECD median for years of potential life lost due to diabetes - 101 per 1,000 people compared with 39 per 1,000 (U.S. data is for 2002).

2 Comments:

At May 15, 2007 4:15 PM, m said...

"the US spends far less on health information technology - just 43 cents per capita, compared with about $192 per capita in the UK. . ."

$0.43 per capita just doesn't seem within the realm of reason. A small lab system is over a million. X-Ray, pharmacy and similar specialized services are not likely to be any cheaper. Patient tracking, accounting and medical records systems will cost much more. This does not even begin to look at medically oriented systems like MRI, CAT (Computer Assisted Tomography), nuclear medicine, surgical automation, nerve conduction studies, biophysics labs, special studies, etc.

Never mind the PC or monitor on every bodies desk. Not just purchase prices, but upgrades and annual service contracts. Also, the States and Fed mandate, and sometimes even provide grants for birth and death data reporting, epidemiology, quality assurance and so on.

I don't have any hard numbers, but I would think that 3-5% of the total health budget is a more reasonable number. That works out to $200-300 per capita.

 
At May 15, 2007 4:26 PM, Catron said...

This Commonwealth Fund report is subjective nonsense. Most of the data involve "self-reported experiences" of patients. It is just propaganda.

 

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