Age is catching up on Europeans

 

Too many lives are still lost in OECD countries because healthcare quality is improving too slowly to cope with ageing populations and the growing number of people with one or more chronic diseases.

Health at a Glance 2015 shows that overall health expenditure continues to grow slowly in many OECD countries in line with GDP growth, although health spending fell in 2013 for a third consecutive year in Italy and Portugal and a fourth in Greece.

The report provides a set of dashboards allowing readers to visualise the relative performance of different OECD countries on selected indicators. These dashboards show that all countries have wide scope for improving the quality of health care and tackling unhealthy lifestyles, such as obesity and harmful alcohol consumption.

No country consistently performs at the top of the country ranking on key indicators of quality of care, even those that spend the most on health. There is room for improvement in all countries in the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of different health problems.

The United States is doing well in providing acute care for people having a heart attack or a stroke and preventing them from dying, but is not performing well in preventing avoidable hospital admissions for people with chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes. The reverse is true in Portugal, Spain and Switzerland, which have relatively low rates of hospital admissions for certain chronic conditions, but relatively high rates of mortality for patients admitted to hospital for a heart attack or stroke.

Finland and Sweden do well in saving the lives of people following diagnosis for cervical, breast or colorectal cancer, but the survival rates for these types of cancer is lower in Chile, Poland, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom and Ireland.

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