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Patient survey ranks U.S. at bottom of 7 industrialized countries

New York based Commonwealth Fund, an organization that studies health care issues, surveyed patients in Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Britain, Australia and the U.S. regarding their experiences and perceptions of health care in their countries. From the perspective of patients in those seven countries the U.S. ranked last. The areas in which U.S. patients stood out as having big problems was in struggling to pay bills, difficulty getting an appointment to see a doctor, and skipping doctor visits or medication due to cost.

At the same time this is going on we have Republican Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani going on radio and proclaiming that “We have the best health care system in the world” in a recent radio ad. Is it political rhetoric, or does he really have no clue? He and other leaders should take a little medical tourism field trip to some of the truly world class health care centers outside the U.S. to see how it’s really done.

Another item in the survey that really sticks out is that once in the system 32% of patients reported suffering a medical mistake. That’s a huge percentage and it may happen because the U.S. ranked last when it came to doctors having access to patients’ medical records at the time of the visit. Now that’s something that’s been beautifully accomplished by Bangkok-based Bumrungrad International Hospital using Bangkok-based Global Care System’s hospital IT solution, which was recently purchased by Microsoft. Thailand leads the world in this area.

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