Not unlike our standing in the world when compared with global soccer powers, according to a new study the U.S. is not stacking up well when it comes to health care, either.
In the latest Commonwealth Fund survey, ranking the world's most expensive health care systems, the United States finished at the bottom of the pile.
In examining 11 nations, the Commonwealth Fund survey rated each health care system on measures of "efficiency, equity, and outcomes." For the U.S., the final score, for the fifth time in the last decade, put it at the bottom of the heap.
The United Kingdom was ranked first overall, with Switzerland grabbing the second spot.
The survey ranked the U.S. poorly in a few measures regarding healthy lifestyle such as mortality amenable to medical care, infant mortality, and healthy life expectancy at age 60.
One area the U.S. scored well in, coming in third overall, was a category called effective care that the survey has under the umbrella of quality care. Other areas the country scored well on included preventive care and on speedy access to specialists.
According to a statement in the report, "For all countries, responses indicate room for improvement. Yet, the other 10 countries spend considerably less on health care per person and as a percent of gross domestic product than does the United States. These findings indicate that, from the perspectives of both physicians and patients, the U.S. health care system could do much better in achieving value for the nation's substantial investment in health."
The rankings for all 11 nations are:
1. United Kingdom
5. Germany & Netherlands (tied)
7. New Zealand & Norway (tied)
11. United States
All hope is not lost, however, as the report claims recent health reforms and increased health technology spending may provide a cure in the coming years for the poor showing by the U.S. in the 2014 survey.
Of particular note, the survey explains, "U.S. physicians face particular difficulties receiving timely information, coordinating care, and dealing with administrative hassles. Other countries have led in the adoption of modern health information systems, but U.S. physicians and hospitals are catching up as they respond to significant financial incentives to adopt and make meaningful use of health information technology systems."
In conducting the survey the Commonwealth Fund included questionnaires from patients and doctors, along with data from the World Health Organization and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Also a part of the survey were results from surveys the Commonwealth Fund conduced of patients and primary care doctors on how they view their countries' health systems.
The Commonwealth Fund promotes a high-performing health care system that gives better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency for society's most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, minority Americans, young children, and elderly adults.