Variations in Amenable Mortality-Trends in 16 High-Income Nations

Published in: Health Policy, v. 103, no. 1, Nov. 2011, p. 47-52

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2010

by Ellen Nolte, Martin McKee

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BACKGROUND: There has been growing interest in the comparison of health system performance within and between countries, using a range of different indicators. This study examines trends in amenable mortality, as one measure of health system performance, in sixteen high-income countries. METHODS: Amenable mortality was defined as premature death from causes that should not occur in the presence of timely and effective health care. We analysed age-standardised rates of amenable mortality under age 75 in 16 countries for 1997/1998 and 2006/2007. RESULTS: Amenable mortality remains an important contributor to premature mortality in 16 high-income countries, accounting for 24% of deaths under age 75. Between 1997/1998 and 2006/2007, amenable mortality fell by between 20.5% in the US and 42.1% in Ireland (average decline: 31%). In 2007, amenable mortality in the US was almost twice that in France, which had the lowest levels. CONCLUSIONS: Amenable mortality continues to fall across high-income nations although the USA is lagging increasingly behind other high income countries. Despite its many limitations, amenable mortality remains a useful indicator to monitor progress of nations.

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