Innovation And The Cost Of Care

Browsing in my local public library, I came across this from the National Geographic magazine:

The United States spends more on medical care per person than any country, yet life expectancy is shorter than in most other developed nations and many developing ones. Lack of health insurance is a factor in life span and contributes to an estimated 45,000 deaths a year. Why the high cost? The U.S. has a fee-for-service system—paying medical providers piecemeal for appointments, surgery, and the like. That can lead to unneeded treatment that doesn’t reliably improve a patient’s health. Says Gerard Anderson, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who studies health insurance worldwide, “More care does not necessarily mean better care.”

The graphic above illustrates this fairly strikingly!

Not all countries are shown (see comments on the post for further details):

As the graphic indicates, all 30 OECD countries were not shown. Because many countries like Germany and Italy had similar numbers that overlapped on the chart, I left some off to make the graphic easier to read. Also, a few countries did not have data for annual doctor visits.

Health care in the US is of course a very hot topic at the moment, see here and here.

How best to change the situation bearing in mind that innovation in large organisations is often very hard to achieve? Some interesting thoughts from Scott Berkun (author of The Myths Of Innovation) here (see also here).

Picture credit: from National Geographic article above.

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