Thursday, January 20, 2011

Comparative Health Statistics between Nations

Preface: Recently a friend sent me this note with these statistics (see below after preface):

“A recent Investor's Business Daily article provided very interesting statistics from a survey by the United Nations International Health Organization.”

I was unable to document the source of these statistics. I could not find the original Investor’s Business Daily article, nor could I find an organization called “The United Nation’s World Health Organization.” I presume the sender meant the World Health Organization (WHO), but I could not find these statistics in any WHO study either. Sounds like a little cherry picking of statistics favorable to the U.S. is going on here.

Nevertheless, these statistics ring true. They re-enforce why many insured Americans like their health care system and why its costs are so high – ease of access to specialists and high tech procedures and effectiveness of the U.S. system in treating cancer and restoring function through such procedures as hip and knee replacement.

Percentage of men and women who survived a cancer five years after diagnosis:
U.S., 65%
England, 46%
Canada, 42%

Percentage of patients diagnosed with diabetes who received treatment within six months:
U.S., 93%
England, 15%
Canada, 43%

Percentage of seniors needing hip replacement who received it within six months:
U.S., 90%
England, 15%
Canada, 43%

Percentage referred to a medical specialist who see one within one month:
U.S., 77%
England, 40%
Canada, 43%

Number of MRI scanners (a prime diagnostic tool) per million people:
U.S., 71%
England, 14%
Canada, 18%

Percentage of seniors (65+), with low income, who say they are in "excellent health"
U.S., 12%
England, 2%
Canada, 6%

I'm reminded of a saying from an anonymous source: "Statistics can be made to prove anything - including the truth."


Hearing Aids said...

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Richard L. Reece, MD said...

Thank you for your "superb" comment. I accept all compliments without complaint. said...

Very helpful piece of writing, much thanks for the article.

bilbo said...

Oh c'mon. Lies are lies. Call it what it is. You're justifying untruths by saying it expresses something we "feel"? You're just supporting deception. This subject deserves accurate reporting and the truth is a lot more complicated.

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