Growing demand and the cost of health care are stretching the budgets not just in Massachusetts, but all over the world. Governments everywhere are faced with a stark choice: leave the health care system as it is and face rising taxes and declining quality of care, or start to do things differently.
Towards this end, many nations and states are resorting to sweeping legislative reforms. The hurdles faced by Affordable Care Act in the US are a reminder that improving health care through ambitious legislation can be protracted, complex, and highly contentious.
What is the alternative? “Doing more with less” is a mantra from Capitol Hill to the corporate sector. A Novartis-McKinsey joint study has found evidence that can make it a reality, making health care more affordable, and therefore more accessible.
We saw striking differences in the way patients with the same disease condition are managed across nations. No one health care system is better than the others: almost every system is good at managing certain diseases. Breast cancer patients in the US lived the longest. High blood pressure was most effectively treated in Canada. The United Kingdom has a low disease burden of diabetes. Stroke was most effectively treated in Switzerland. Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have the best outcomes in France.
The real surprise, though, was that these nations that provided the highest quality of care spent less on managing that disease than their counterparts.
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