A recent global study of healthcare systems discovered what experts are calling “distressing” findings in reference to the quality of the U.S. healthcare system, a topic many Americans often grumble and complain about.
A recent global study of healthcare systems discovered what experts are calling “distressing” findings in reference to the quality of the U.S. healthcare system, a topic many Americans often grumble and complain about. Sure the U.S. is home to well-trained doctors who have access to the latest and greatest medical technology, but according to the recent study led by Christopher Murray, a researcher at the University of Washington, luxuries like well-trained doctors and fancy medical equipment “don’t always correlate with staying alive.” It turns out the U.S. healthcare system rates alarmingly high on the “amenable mortality” scale, or “deaths that theoretically could have been avoided by timely and effective medical care.”
Murray and his team didn’t just stumble upon these findings, though. Rather, they thoroughly examined “32 causes of death in 195 countries from 1990 to 2015 to create a health-care quality index they used for rankings.” But if the study found the U.S. healthcare quality to be “disturbing,” what country surpassed all others in terms of offering the best quality to patients? Well, have you ever heard of Andorra? Andorra is a “microstate in the Pyrenees mountains with a population of about 85,000 and an economy based on tourism.” The country to come in dead last was the Central African Republic. As expected, “many highly developed nations, such as Norway, Australia, and Canada, scored well,” while “more-remote areas in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean scored poorly.”
So how did the U.S., a highly developed nation, score on par with less developed areas like Estonia and Montenegro? Well, the study found that while the U.S. does a good job of preventing diseases by vaccines, the world’s super power “gets almost failing grades for nine other conditions that can lead to death,” including lower respiratory infections, neonatal disorders, non-melanoma skin cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, ischemic heart disease, hypertensive heart disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and the adverse effects of medical treatment itself, according to the study.
The findings prompted Murray to call America’s ranking an embarrassment, and he isn’t wrong. He noted that U.S. health spending per person is a shocking $9,000, more than any other country in the world!
The study itself was published in the Lancet and offers insight and models on how the United States can improve. By examining other countries like Peru, South Korea, and Jordan, all of which have seen a steady improvement in healthcare quality over the years, perhaps the U.S. will be able to improve it’s ranking in time for the next global study.