The Envelope Please…..

rankingsHaving a strong economy and all the latest and greatest medical technology doesn’t necessarily translate into better healthcare. At least, not according to a new global health study that looked at how well countries use their healthcare systems to stop preventable deaths. Our ranking………35th! That puts us just behind Croatia and Estonia and just ahead of Montenegro and Lebanon.

From the Washington Post:

Americans grumble all the time about the quality of our health-care system, but when we’re dealing with serious issues, such as injuries from an auto accident or cancer, we often count our blessings that we live in a wealthy country that has well-trained doctors with access to the latest medical technology.

Yet those factors don’t always correlate with staying alive. That’s the distressing finding from a global study of what researchers call “amenable mortality,” or deaths that theoretically could have been avoided by timely and effective medical care.

Christopher Murray, a researcher at the University of Washington, and his collaborators looked at 32 causes of death in 195 countries from 1990 to 2015 to create a health-care quality index they used for rankings. Murray described the findings as “disturbing.” wrote, “At the top of the list for countries with high socio-demographic indicators, Andorra—that tiny little principality wedged between France and Spain—scored a 95 out of 100. Nordic countries—Iceland (94), Sweden (90), and Norway (90)—also scored high on the list. Australia, a country with publicly funded and universal healthcare recently praised by U.S. President Donald Trump, also scored a 90. America, meanwhile, scored only 81, putting it behind countries such as France, Canada, and the UK, but ahead of Saudi Arabia and Russia.”

The top 10 looks like this –

  1. Andorra
  2. Iceland
  3. Switzerland
  4. Sweden
  5. Norway
  6. Australia
  7. Finland
  8. Spain
  9. Netherlands
  10. Luxembourg

Science Daily quoted Dr. Christopher Murray, senior author of the study and Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, as saying:

America’s ranking is an embarrassment, especially considering the US spends more than $9,000 per person on health care annually, more than any other country. Anyone with a stake in the current health care debate, including elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels, should take a look at where the US is falling short.” pointed out that the study “was focused on personal healthcare access and quality, and did not necessarily capture the important effects of public health programs on improving outcomes.” Still, to see our country so far outside the top 20 is a bit of an eye-opener. Our friends in the UK may be saying the same thing as they didn’t fare much better than the U.S coming in at number 30.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the study and whether you believe our ranking truly reflects the quality of healthcare in our country. And if you believe it does – what does that say (if anything) about healthcare here in Arizona? Driving meaningful dialogue around the health issues making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

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