There Is No Perfect Health System

All Countries Need to Improve the Way They Measure and Track the Quality of Patient Care

Published in: Health Affairs, v. 23, no. 1, May/June 2004, p. 100-103

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2003

by Elizabeth A. McGlynn

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Extensive research into quality of care in different countries yields no conclusive findings that one system is better or worse than others. Quality does not necessarily vary with financing mechanisms; even countries with single-payer systems have variations in quality. Quality is not directly related to the amount spent on health care, since the highest-spending country (the United States) does not have measurably better outcomes. Investments in the quality measurement and reporting systems in all countries would substantially increase the opportunities to learn from cross-national comparisons.

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