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OECD Report Compares Healthcare Systems

Posted on Jan 03, 2012 by Sergio Ulloa ()  | Tags: Health at a Glance 2011, OECD

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, recently released their Health at a Glance report for 2011, analyzing the performance of healthcare systems in OECD countries. The Health at a Glance 2011 report, which is the 6th edition of the OECD report, is largely based off of the data found in the OECD Health Data 2011 report and provides some of the most in-depth data for analyzing the differences between the varied healthcare systems present in OECD countries. On the whole, countries that are part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have seen great strides in positive health indicators over the 50 years that the OECD has been around. All 34 OECD countries enjoyed gains in life expectancy, which were in part due to great reductions in the mortality rates of all age groups. Medical treatment has also come a long way throughout OECD countries, with many illnesses and diseases seeing reduced mortality rates. While cardiovascular diseases still remain the leading cause of death in OECD countries, the number of people dying within 30 days of having been admitted to hospitals has fallen to 4 percent in 2011. A number of different types of cancer have also seen increased survival rates, such as breast cancer and colorectal cancer, which saw improved 5-year survival rates throughout all countries. In many of these cases, increases in survivability and reduced mortality rates for diseases and illnesses were largely the result of increased diagnostic and treatment capabilities, allowing ailments to be caught earlier and more effectively treated. While the wealth of historical data from OECD countries demonstrated a number of positive health trends such as those noted above, it also highlighted a growing concern over the increasing number of chronic and lifestyle related diseases throughout OECD countries. Asthma, Diabetes and Obesity were all prominent issues for many OECD countries that the Health at a Glance report noted. Asthma and Diabetes were two chronic illnesses that the report said should be dealt with differently throughout the OECD in order to avoid what the document detailed as avoidable admissions. The report noted that a greater focus should be put on primary care in dealing with Asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and Diabetes, so that patients and healthcare systems can avoid unnecessary hospital admissions due to the diseases. The report also raised concerns about the growing issue of obesity across many OECD countries. Out of the 34 OECD countries, in 19 of them more than 50 percent of adults are overweight or obese. This raises serious concerns as obesity is a risk factor in a large and varied number of health problems, many of which can end up developing into chronic conditions that require a large outlay of healthcare costs in the future. In moving forward, healthcare stakeholders will be able to look at the data in the report to help them develop new initiatives that will help them tackle the most pressing issues for their countries. Despite the fact that many OECD countries have very different background factors that may influence the health indicators measured in the report, in many cases there may still be opportunities to explore measures that have worked in other countries to duplicate positive results.
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