U.S. lags behind in health outcomes despite rising spending, costs

Despite rising prices and spending $2.7 trillion a year on healthcare, the United States isn't keeping up with the rest of the developed world when it comes to outcomes and health improvements--giving little value for the money spent, according to a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association.  

"Based on this review…the U.S. 'system' has performed relatively poorly," Hamilton Moses, M.D., of the Alerion Institute in Virginia and Johns Hopkins University, and colleagues from The Boston Consulting Group, wrote.

Life expectancy is growing in the U.S., but Americans aren't living as long as those who live in Western Europe and Japan. In addition, Americans have higher rates of cardiovascular disease, perinatal disorders, respiratory diseases and infectious diseases, such as HIV, accounting for 75 percent of the deviation, according to a MedPage Today article.

Since 2000, the U.S. has seen an increase in professional services, drugs, devices and administrative costs. A contributing factor to the skyrocketing prices is that the public doesn't know how much it's paying for healthcare services, the researchers found, and prices aren't publicized for consumers to shop for the most cost-effective option. And, an NBC News article contends the country's fee-for-service mentality pushes doctors to prescribe drugs, tests and expensive treatments instead of focusing on keeping the patient well.

But there is a way to change and improve the system.

In a recent blog post for the Harvard Business Review, Toby Cosgrove, M.D., president and CEO of Cleveland Clinic, said switching to a value-based healthcare model will lower healthcare costs, improve quality and outcomes and eventually affect every patient across the United States, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- here's the JAMA report
- read the NBC News article
- check out the MedPage Today story