Assessing health care quality can be complex since not one specific parameter is used but rather several dimensions are explored. The safety of the patients, availability of services needed, efficient and equitable medical services are some of the factors considered when measuring the quality of care. Since health care is dynamic ability to afford health care services, financing of health care services, infrastructure and human resources are all key contributors to the quality of care rendered.
Health outcomes are major indicators used to assess quality in terms of morbidity and mortality rates. There has been a decline in mortality rates in the US since 1980 to 2015 at 29% but other countries recorded a 54% decline. This clearly shows that although there has been improvement in health care by a reduction of the deaths occurring still other countries are doing much better. A Healthcare quality and Access Index Rating in 2016 the US rated last with a score of 88.7 among other developed countries like Netherlands, Sweden and Australia who all had a score of 95 and above. The deaths that occurred could have been prevented by providing timely and effective care.
A Domestic Problem
The US has the highest disease burden in comparison to other countries in a study done in 2017, this is contrary to the decline in mortality rates as earlier indicated. Hospital admissions of preventable disease are more frequent than the average of other countries although hospital stays due to these conditions is lower. Seemingly, provision of effective treatment and efficient services has reduced the hospital stays and mortality rates for ischemic strokes to 4.2 deaths per 100 patients as compared to an average of 6.9 deaths per 100 patients in other similar countries.
Errors in healthcare provision indicate poor quality of services rendered to the patients. In 2016 the US had 19% rate of medical, medication and lab errors with Germany, France and Netherlands having 7%, 8% and 10% respectively. Post-operative suture ruptures are more common in the US than Post- clots and sepsis according to a report in 2015 which is slightly lower than other comparable countries. Australia, Switzerland and United Kingdom had better outcomes of Post-op sutures.
During delivery without an instrument the US has the lowest rate of obstetric trauma of 1.4 per 100 vaginal deliveries while the rate of obstetric trauma during deliveries with an instrument in the US is 9.6 per 100 vaginal deliveries a bit higher than the comparable country average of 8.8 per 100.
In 2015 the mortality rates for breast, colorectal and cervical cancers in the US was lower as compared to other countries. This depicted that the country offered better treatment and management of cancers in general than other countries. This same case applies to the diseases of the circulatory system which were treated and managed better at 59% while similar countries had an average improvement of 65% from 1980 to 2015.
Availability of a doctor or nurse when needed rated differently Netherlands was leading at 81% while the US had 58% slightly higher than the comparable country average. Many Americans prefer to use emergency services for ordinary ailment which is a fail in community based health care.