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Study: Canadian, U.S. Health Care At The Bottom Among 7 Industrialized Nations

Fri, 25 Jun 2010 06:37:2

AHN News Staff

District of Columbia, Washington, United States (AHN) - A study released this week by the Commonwealth Fund found out that the two largest North American countries are on the bottom of the seven industrialized nations when it comes to health care. The report said the United States is on the seventh place, while Canada is on the sixth spot.

The report was based on patients' and doctors' health care experiences and ratings on different aspects of care provision in Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and U.S.

The U.S., despite having the most costly health system in the world, was either sixth or seventh in five areas, namely: quality, access, efficiency, equity and healthy lives. The newly approved health reform law in the U.S. is expected to address these problem areas and help improve the country's standing in future surveys.

The U.S. had the same cellar dweller status in the 2004, 2006 and 2007 surveys by the fund. On top of the list is the Netherlands, followed by the U.K. and Australia.

Commonwealth Fund Senior Vice President Cathy Schoen, who co-authored the study, said Canada came in sixth overall because of its weak primary care services and slowness in adopting digital record systems for patients. Schoen added Canadian patients complained over long wait times for a physician's appointment, lack of after-hours care and high utilization of emergency use for non-emergency cases.

Canadian Medical Association President Dr. Anne Doig described the Commonwealth Fund's report as reasonably accurate and methodologically sound. Doig said the CMA's goal is to improve Canada's medical system in the next couple of years.

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