Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The perfect health care system

An article on health care models in today's paper gives me a welcome excuse to think and write about something other than IS bombings and the war in the Middle East.
The article lists four different international reports comparing the health systems of various countries. A World Health Organization report in 2000 concluded that France had the world's best health care system, followed by Italy, San Marino, Andorra and Malta. Bloomberg's 2014 rankings show Singapore on top, followed by Hong Kong, Italy, Japan and South Korea. The Economist Intelligence Unit ranks Japan and No, 1, followed by Singapore, Switzerland, Iceland and Australia. The Commonwealth Fund ranks the UK as having the best health system, followed by Switzerland, Sweden, Australia and Germany.
There are a few recurring elements in the lists (Italy, Singapore, Australia, Japan, Switzerland), but it is notable that no one country appears in any three of the four lists. Canada, it can be said, appears in none. Perhaps all that can be gleaned from this meta-analysis, then, is that there are many different ways in which a health system can be judged or measured, and that anyway data is not always reliable, compatible or comparable.
With this in mind, Mark Britnell of KPMG, in his new book "In Search of the Perfect Health System", concludes that the perfect health system might include:
  • the values and universal access of the UK;
  • the primary care of Israel;
  • the community services of Brazil;
  • the mental health system of Australia;
  • the health promotion philosophy of the Nordic countries;
  • the patient and community empowerment of part of Africa;
  • the research and development infrastructure of the United States;
  • the innovation, flair and speed of India;
  • the information, communication and technology of Singapore;
  • the choice offered to patients in France;
  • the funding model of Switzerland; and
  • the elderly care of Japan.
Oh, and he might as well have added to this reverie: the medical outcomes of Star Trek or Hogwarts!
Interesting, though.

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