A Global Perspective of U.S. Healthcare

HBI Blog / A Global Perspective of U.S. Healthcare

A research carried out in 2015 showed that the United States had worse outcomes and spent more on healthcare before the provisioning of the Affordable Care Act was introduced. It was because of the massive usage of medical technology and high prices as compared to other countries with high income. It is now possible to gain vital insights regarding the strength and weaknesses of the healthcare system and identify the areas of improvement by benchmarking the performance of the healthcare system of the US with other countries.

A Global Perspective of U.S. Healthcare

Let’s take a look at some of the insights found through such research:

  • Every year, the US has been spending more on healthcare as a share of the economy. The amount is twice as much as the average healthcare cost of any OECD country. However, life expectancy in the US is the lowest among these countries. The US spent around 16.9 percent of the GDP on healthcare in 2018 followed by Switzerland with 12.2 percent. The life expectancy at birth in the same year in the US was 78.6 years.
  • The burden of chronic disease is the highest in America as compared to other OECD countries. Moreover, the obesity rate is more than two times higher than that of the average of the OECD countries. More than a quarter of adults in the US are diagnosed with two or more chronic conditions.
  • In comparison, Americans had fewer physician visits. Experts relate this to a low supply of physicians in the US.
  • Usage of several expensive technologies like MRI and specialized treatments like hip replacements is more common in the US than any other OECD country.
  • While talking about preventive measures, the performance of the US is better than most of the countries. The Americans have witnessed the highest screening for breast cancer among women between the age of 50-69 years. The country also has the second-highest rate (the highest in the U.K.) of flu vaccinations among people who are more than 65 years old.
  • The US experiences the highest number of hospitalizations due to preventable causes and also the maximum number of avoidable deaths in comparison to other peer nations. The country witnesses around 112 avoidable deaths out of every 100,000.

The above insights help the policymakers and the system leaders identify the areas that need acute concentration while improving the overall healthcare system of the country.

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