Best Health Care in the World

A healthcare system is a network of institutions, individuals, and resources involved in the delivery of health care services within a geographical area. Thus, hospitals, clinics, community health centers, pharmaceutical companies, providers of health insurance, Ministries of health, organizations dealing with financing and management of resources, etc., are all a part of the health system.

According to the World Health Organization, a health system consists of all organizations, people, and actions whose primary intent is to promote, restore, or maintain health. This includes efforts to influence determinants of health as well as more direct health-improving activities. A health system is therefore more than the pyramid of publicly owned facilities that deliver personal health services. The following sections provide details from the Commonwealth Fund Survey 2014 and WHO 2000 report on health care.

Commonwealth Fund Survey 2014

Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit organization that supports independent research on health and social issues, published a report in 2014. It assessed the standard of health care in eleven developed nations that included:

➠ United Kingdom
➠ Switzerland
➠ Sweden
➠ Australia
➠ Germany
➠ Netherlands
➠ New Zealand
➠ Norway
➠ France
➠ Canada
➠ United States of America

The report ranks each healthcare system on the basis of five categories:

➠ Quality
➠ Access
➠ Efficiency
➠ Equity
➠ Healthy Lives

Quality

The indicators of quality are grouped into four categories:

➠ Effective care
➠ Safe care
➠ Coordinated care
➠ Patient-centered care

In terms of quality care, the top three spots were bagged by the United Kingdom, Australia, and Switzerland. New Zealand ranked fourth, whereas the United States and Netherlands both held the fifth position. Germany, France, Canada, Sweden, and Norway held the seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, and eleventh rank, respectively.

Effective Care

Effective care is an indicator of quality, which is determined by finding out if the services are effective and appropriate for the prevention and treatment of a given condition, as well as controlling chronic illness. For instance, sending reminders to patients who are due or overdue for tests or follow-up visits, and discussion of lifestyle-related issues can help in the prevention of diseases. An effective healthcare system can also be determined by the level of care provided to those with chronic illnesses. The following list provides the rankings (best to the worst) of these eleven countries in terms of effective care:

➠ United Kingdom
➠ New Zealand
➠ United States of America
➠ Australia
➠ Netherlands
➠ Germany
➠ Canada
➠ Switzerland
➠ France
➠ Sweden
➠ Norway

Safe Care

Safe care implies avoiding medical errors or injuries to patients from the care that is intended to help them. Thus, precautions must be taken to prevent sicker patients from contracting an infection during a hospital stay or shortly after. The following list provides the rankings (best to the worst) of these eleven countries in terms of safe care:

➠ United Kingdom
➠ France
➠ Australia
➠ Switzerland
➠ Sweden
➠ Germany
➠ Netherlands and United States of America
➠ New Zealand
➠ Canada
➠ Norway

Coordinated Care

Lack of coordinated care could have an adverse effect on the delivery of effective care, thereby raising the costs of treatment. There’s a need for proper communication among patients, physicians, and hospitals. For instance, providing a written plan on aftercare measures after discharge can certainly prove beneficial. The following list provides the rankings (best to the worst) of these eleven countries in terms of coordinated care:

➠ United Kingdom
➠ New Zealand
➠ Switzerland
➠ Australia
➠ Netherlands
➠ United States of America
➠ Norway
➠ Canada
➠ France
➠ Germany
➠ Sweden

Patient-centeredness

Countries fared better in this category when there was proper communication between the patient and healthcare provider. The patient is more likely to continue seeking medical assistance from the same healthcare provider when care is provided while keeping the needs and preferences of the patient in mind. This is most likely to happen when the healthcare provider gives clear instructions, explains all the options to the patients, and encourages them to ask questions. The following list provides the rankings (best to the worst) of these eleven countries in terms of patient-centered care:

➠ United Kingdom
➠ Switzerland
➠ Netherlands
➠ United States of America
➠ Australia
➠ New Zealand
➠ Germany
➠ Canada
➠ Sweden
➠ France
➠ Norway

 

Access

Health systems were also ranked on the basis of access to care. In a good healthcare system, patients are able to obtain affordable care and receive medical attention on time. On the other hand, countries where patients did not get the needed medical attention due to the inability to pay medical bills got a lower rank.

The following list provides the overall rankings (best to the worst) of these eleven countries in terms of access

➠ United Kingdom
➠ Switzerland and Germany
➠ Netherlands and Sweden
➠ Norway
➠ New Zealand
➠ Australia
➠ Canada and the United States of America
➠ France

Access is further divided into cost-related problem and timeliness of care.

Cost-related Problem

The following list provides the rankings (best to the worst) of these eleven countries in terms of cost-related problem:

➠ United Kingdom and Sweden
➠ Norway
➠ Germany
➠ Canada
➠ New Zealand
➠ Switzerland
➠ Netherlands
➠ Australia
➠ France
➠ United States of America

Timeliness of Care

In countries with a good healthcare system, patients have rapid access to basic medical care and non-emergency surgery. The following list provides the rankings (best to the worst) of these eleven countries in terms of timeliness of care

➠ Switzerland
➠ Netherlands
➠ United Kingdom
➠ Germany
➠ United States of America
➠ Australia
➠ New Zealand
➠ Norway
➠ Sweden
➠ France
➠ Canada

 

Efficiency

The quality of care should be maximized in terms of the resources. The resources should be well-spent. Avoidance of administrative hassles and insurance-related issues, timely access to records, etc., can help maximize efficiency. The following list provides the rankings (best to the worst) of these eleven countries in terms of efficiency

➠ United Kingdom
➠ Sweden
➠ New Zealand
➠ Norway and Australia
➠ Switzerland
➠ Netherlands
➠ France
➠ Germany
➠ Canada
➠ United States of America

 

Equity

Equity refers to delivery of good care to all, irrespective of location, socioeconomic status, gender, or ethnicity. Countries where patients with low income go without the needed care due to costs got a lower rank. The following list provides the rankings (best to the worst) of these eleven countries in terms of equity

➠ Sweden
➠ Switzerland and the United Kingdom
➠ Germany
➠ Australia
➠ Norway
➠ France
➠ Netherlands
➠ Canada
➠ New Zealand
➠ United States of America

 

Healthy Lives

In this category, countries were ranked on the basis of the mortality rates amenable to health care, infant mortality rate, and healthy life expectancy above the age of 60 years. The following list provides the rankings (best to the worst) of these eleven countries in terms of healthy lives:

➠ France
➠ Sweden
➠ Switzerland
➠ Australia
➠ Netherlands
➠ Norway
➠ Germany
➠ Canada
➠ New Zealand
➠ United Kingdom
➠ United States

The rankings or the scorecard in the Commonwealth Fund is based on the information from the WHO 2000 report on health care, patients’ and physicians’ survey results on care experiences and ratings on various dimensions of care, data from the recent Commonwealth Fund international surveys, etc.

 

WHO’s Rankings on Health Care (2000)

In 2000, the World Health Organization ranked the nations on the basis of the level of health care provided to the citizens in their respective countries. However, WHO doesn’t release such rankings anymore, as this is a very complicated process. The rankings are based on the data released in 2000 by WHO.

1. France
2. Italy
3. San Marino
4. Andorra
5. Malta
6. Singapore
7. Spain
8. Oman
9. Austria
10. Japan
11. Norway
12. Portugal
13. Monaco
14. Greece
15. Iceland
16. Luxembourg
17. Netherlands
18. United Kingdom
19. Ireland
20. Switzerland
21. Belgium
22. Colombia
23. Sweden
24. Cyprus
25. Germany
26. Saudi Arabia
27. United Arab Emirates
28. Israel
29. Morocco
30. Canada
31. Finland
32. Australia
33. Chile
34. Denmark
35. Dominica
36. Costa Rica
37. USA
38. Slovenia
39. Cuba
40. Brunei
41. New Zealand
42. Bahrain
43. Croatia
44. Qatar
45. Kuwait
46. Barbados
47. Thailand
48. Czech Republic
49. Malaysia
50. Poland
51. Dominican Republic
52. Tunisia
53. Jamaica
54. Venezuela
55. Albania
56. Seychelles
57. Paraguay
58. South Korea
59. Senegal
60. Philippines
61. Mexico
62. Slovakia
63. Egypt
64. Kazakhstan
65. Uruguay
66. Hungary
67. Trinidad and Tobago
68. Saint Lucia
69. Belize
70. Turkey
71. Nicaragua
72. Belarus
73. Lithuania
74. Saint Vincent
75. Argentina
76. Sri Lanka
77. Estonia
78. Guatemala
79. Ukraine
80. Solomon Islands
81. Algeria
82. Palau
83. Jordan
84. Mauritius
85. Grenada
86. Antigua and Barbuda
87. Libya
88. Bangladesh
89. Macedonia
90. Bosnia and Herzegovina
91. Lebanon
92. Indonesia
93. Iran
94. Bahamas
95. Panama
96. Fiji
97. Benin
98. Nauru
99. Romania
100. St. Kitts & Nevis
101. Moldova
102. Bulgaria
103. Iraq
104. Armenia
105. Latvia
106. Yugoslavia
107. Cook Islands
108. Syria
109. Azerbaijan
110. Suriname
111. Ecuador
112. India
113. Cape Verde
114. Georgia
115. El Salvador
116. Tonga
117. Uzbekistan
118. Comoros
119. Samoa
120. Yemen
121. Niue
122. Pakistan
123. Micronesia
124. Bhutan
125. Brazil
126. Bolivia
127. Vanuatu
128. Guyana
129. Peru
130. Russia
131. Honduras
132. Burkina Faso
133. São Tomé
134. Sudan
135. Ghana
136. Tuvalu
137. Ivory Coast
138. Haiti
139. Gabon
140. Kenya
141. Marshall Islands
142. Kiribati
143. Burundi
144. China
145. Mongolia
146. Gambia
147. Maldives
148. Papua New Guinea
149. Uganda
150. Nepal
151. Kyrgyzstan
152. Togo
153. Turkmenistan
154. Tajikistan
155. Zimbabwe
156. Tanzania
157. Djibouti
158. Eritrea
159. Madagascar
160. Vietnam
161. Guinea
162. Mauritania
163. Mali
164. Cameroon
165. Laos
166. Congo
167. North Korea
168. Namibia
169. Botswana
170. Niger
171. Equatorial Guinea
172. Rwanda
173. Afghanistan
174. Cambodia
175. South Africa
176. Guinea-Bissau
177. Swaziland
178. Chad
179. Somalia
180. Ethiopia
181. Angola
182. Zambia
183. Lesotho
184. Mozambique
185. Malawi
186. Liberia
187. Nigeria
188. Republic of Congo
189. Central African Republic
190. Myanmar

On a concluding note, the top ranking of the United Kingdom in the Commonwealth Fund Report 2014 might be attributed to the fact that there are no direct costs to patients, as health care is administered universally by the National Health Service (NHS). While most patients receive information for follow-up appointments in United Kingdom, Switzerland is known for providing care, irrespective of class or income. Also, the needs and preferences of the patients is given importance in Switzerland. Sweden scored well in efficiency and healthy lives categories. Australia has a universal healthcare system, and it is known for its efficiency in providing care to chronically ill patients. Though Germany provides universal health coverage, it needs to catch up with the leaders in health care. Surprisingly, the United States of America finds itself at the bottom of the list in the overall ranking, as well as the categories such as access (cost-related problem), equity, efficiency, and healthy lives.

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