health statistics: make of them as you will

A recent “Investor’s Business Daily” article provided very interesting statistics
from a survey by the United Nations International Health Organization. Read them then ask yourself where you want to live under each of these conditions. For me the answer is obvious.

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%

And now for the last statistic:
Has National Health Insurance?
England YES
Canada YES

If one understands the principles of business then it is from statistical evidence such as these that one can understand the reason for higher health care costs in the U.S.A as opposed to the Canadian or English System. I guess you could say that the principle “you get what you pay for” is an applicable principle even on the issue of health.

Categories: Economics, Politics, Science | Tags: , , , , | 15 Comments

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15 thoughts on “health statistics: make of them as you will

  1. Very informative and interesting – stats like these should be on our evening news!! Why does it always seem like the important news is buried under all the junk news? Thanks for sharing!

  2. The Griper

    my pleasure, michele. i’m pleased to hear you enjoyed it

  3. BB-Idaho

    I’m a wee bit sceptical. So I reread the World Health Organization (The UN International Health Organization does not exist) report for 2010. No link, as it is
    a 195 page pdf. Canada/UK are still superior in terms of hospital beds per 10K,
    longevity, adult age 15-60 mortality, infant mortality, maternal death at birth etc.
    Next, I checked Investor Business Daily for back articles on ‘healthcare’ back to
    2006: no article. Next, I explored some Snopes discussions, but could only find
    someone called IBD and IBD denied such an article. You’d expect nothing less
    from me, huh, Griper? Now, if you can find me the original arrticle….

  4. The Griper

    🙂 you’re right, BB, i’d expect nothing less from you and it is also why i consider you as a silent partner of this blog. and i’ll admit i got these stats without making sure of their accuracy. one of those times i allowed my own ideology to over rule my common sense.

    thanks for keeping me on that narrow path as you alway do. times like this i really appreciate your patronage to my blog.

    well, time to find out where i got this again, then act upon my findings. 🙂

  5. The Griper

    ohhh,,ohhh, just thought of something, BB. i think i know what happened. i remember vaguely that the place where i stole this said he got this in an email. that should have been my first warning.

  6. The Griper

    OK, BB,
    with the little time i took at research i did find these stats cooresponding with the stats above in Wikipedia in the Wait times section of the article.

    “Studies by the Commonwealth Fund found that 42% of Canadians waited 2 hours or more in the emergency room, vs. 29% in the U.S.; 57% waited 4 weeks or more to see a specialist, vs. 23% in the U.S., ”

    “As reported by the Health Council of Canada, a 2010 Commonwealth survey found that 42% of Canadians waited 2 hours or more in the emergency room, vs. 29% in the U.S.; ”

    “43% waited 4 weeks or more to see a specialist, vs. 10% in the U.S. ”

    “A 2003 survey of hospital administrators conducted in Canada, the U.S., and three other countries found dissatisfaction with both the U.S. and Canadian systems. For example, 21% of Canadian hospital administrators, but less than 1% of American administrators, said that it would take over three weeks to do a biopsy for possible breast cancer on a 50-year-old woman;”

    “50% of Canadian administrators versus none of their American counterparts said that it would take over six months for a 65-year-old to undergo a routine hip replacement surgery”

    so, as I said in the post, a person should take of those stats as they will.

  7. BB-Idaho

    I accept Wikipedia. I suspect stats are sort of a ‘collective’ of numbers, for in
    my own case, my old doctor would see me within 1-2 days. My new one is more
    like a month. (but my good old dentist will do emergency stuff on the weekend.
    …unless he’s golfing)

  8. The Griper

    same here, my friend. i think another reason i was so accepting of the stats without checking is that they did correspond to my own personal experience also. i can say i personally experience 4 of those incidences including my last operation by a specialist.

  9. BB-Idaho

    Forgot about your surgery. How did that work out for you- A. Healthwise, and
    B. in the context of quality/time/effacy of treatment? (Scientifically, we would
    require a repeat in Canada & UK for verification, but I’m sure once is enough of
    THAT stuff) 🙂

  10. The Griper

    Surgery!!! I was in and out of the hospital in less than two days. Didn’t even have time to flirt with the pretty nurses while there. but operation went well. i felt good enough when i awoke in recovery to have gone straight home from there. a couple of incisions about 2 inches long was the only thing that indicated i had surgery and they don’t use bandages anymore. they used some sort of glue to patch me up. so, i would have to grade this experience as an “A-” and the minus is the result of wait time between diagnosis and surgery.

  11. The Griper

    you know, BB, in going over the conversation of this thread i noticed a remarked difference in terms of quality of care. can you see the difference between the stats you cited as opposed to the stats i used?

  12. BB-Idaho

    IMO, healthcare quality relates in part to physician availability. For example the
    regional variabiliy in patient/doctor ratio is considerable even here in the US. My state
    has the lowest number of doctors per 100,000 people at 168.8. (I think I may have
    a 0.8 doctor). Mass. has 496, and we suspect care quality to be reflected in that.
    A factor that IMO muddies the entire system is that some of us see a doctor maybe
    once every 5 years, while others make it a weekly habit (it certainly affects the
    actuarial computations). In this day of MRIs, chemo, and hospital TVs, it seems
    ironic, but I remember well being a little kid. Got a rash, then a fever. Mom called
    the Dr. Dr. Nestor drove in a couple hours later in his 46 Olds with his satchel. Pronounced ‘measles’ after a short exam and posted our door QUARANTEENED. I got out of school for two weeks. I sure liked Dr. Nestor….
    You may be interested in the types of glue they use now days. (cyanoacrolates are
    also known as ‘SuperGlue’ and if your surgeon ended up with his hand glued to
    his forehead, well….)

  13. The Griper

    the point i was getting at, BB, is that when health care of each nation is compared, stats like you cited in your first comment are the ones that areusually used to determine quality of care, mortality rates, infant mortality rate etc.
    and it is stats like these that experts cite when speaking or writing about a comparative study of quality of care and the stats most likely publicized in the media.

    the problem with these sort of stats is that while medical care is a very important factor there are other factors that contribute like, environment, culture, personal lifestyles and many other factors.

    the stats that i used in this post were stats about how the medical profession directly treats the individual patients of each nation. and it is stats like these that patients would use to ascertain quality of care. your own last comment is an illustration of these types of stats, the personal attention given to each of the patients.

    and i’ll admit that i hadn’t noticed this difference until today. does what i see make sense to you?

  14. BB-Idaho

    I agree, the problem with statistics (the average american has one testicle) can be
    misleading. Perhaps healthcare, like so many things is local and even anecdotal

  15. The Griper

    the problem i see in the health care debate is the fact that the whole argument for universal care is the fact that it is always argued on the premise of it needs to be in terms of being an insurance program thus it should be a comparison to private insurance companies if we are to compare in a scientific manner. but advocates very seldom argue their case on these terms. they argue on the basis of universal care as opposed to the uninsured.

    both of those ladies did that in that video you cited. they both cited the cost of treatment in U.S. not the cost of premiums which would be comparable to what they cited as cost of the Canadian system.

    this presumes that if they were living in the US they wouldn’t have had medical insurance at the time they needed it. and there is no way to ascertain that as a certainty. but if we were to use statistical evidence then we’d have to say that they probably would have had medical insurance to cover the costs.

    do i make sense?

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