Washington: France is tops, and the United States trails in last place in providing timely and effective healthcare to its citizens, according to a survey carried out on preventable deaths in 19 industrialized countries.
The study by the Commonwealth Fund and published in the January/February issue of the journal Health Affairs measured developed countries’ effectiveness at providing timely and effective healthcare.
The study, “Measuring health of nations: updating earlier analysis,” was written by researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. It looked at death rates in subjects younger than 75 that could have been prevented by timely and effective medical care.
The researchers found that while most countries surveyed saw preventable deaths decline by an average of 16%, US saw only a 4% dip.
The non-profit Commonwealth Fund, which financed the study, expressed alarm at the findings.
“It is startling to see the US falling even farther behind on this crucial indicator of health system performance,” said Cathy Schoen, Commonwealth Fund senior vice president, who noted that “other countries are reducing these preventable deaths more rapidly, yet spending far less.”
The 19 countries, in order of best to worst, were: France, Japan, Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Some countries showed dramatic improvement in the periods studied -- 1997 and 1998 and again between 2002 and 2003 -- outpacing the United States, which showed only slight improvement.