Healthcare has a spending problem. For all the investments made in healthcare—$4.1 trillion to be exact—outcomes are not where they should be. In fact, the US has the lowest life expectancy compared to other high-income countries, including Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The Commonwealth Fund also reports that, compared to these peers, the US has the highest chronic disease burden, highest number of hospitalizations from preventable causes, and highest rate of avoidable deaths.
“We have a life expectancy that is on par with Chile or the Czech Republic, which are not the countries we would consider our peers economically,” said Robert Fields, MD, MHA, EVP and chief population health officer at Mount Sinai Health System, citing data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
That is not to say the US doesn’t deliver high-quality care, Fields reassured attendees at Xtelligent Healthcare Media’s second annual Revenue Cycle Management Virtual Summit last week.
“If I need a complicated surgery, I want care at a US facility,” Fields explained. “But if you ask me whether we deliver better health from a population perspective or the outcomes that we think, as American citizens, we should expect from our healthcare system, well, there’s very little evidence that we are able to deliver that level of care across the board, across populations, and for the outcomes that actually matter for life expectancy.”