Health care is a complex ecosystem that includes many goods, services, and payment mechanisms that are required for individuals to achieve and maintain their health. Each patient will have a unique landscape that is specific to their needs.
The healthcare ecosystem consists of physicians, hospitals, laboratories, radiology centers, pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies. In addition, there are insurance companies, group purchasing organizations, pharmacy benefit managers and corporate health systems.
Primary care providers are medical doctors who specialize in general care. They are the first point of contact for most people with illnesses or injuries and have a great deal of expertise in diagnosing and treating many types of diseases. They also have a wealth of knowledge about how to prevent diseases and keep their patients healthy.
When you have an illness or injury, you’ll need to see a doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will examine you, diagnose your condition and prescribe medications or other treatments based on your symptoms.
Your doctor can refer you to other specialists if you have complicated or rare problems. This is a way of helping you get the best possible care at a lower cost.
A specialist is a medical professional who specializes in a particular area of medicine, such as pediatrics or internal medicine. They can often provide more complex, specialized treatment than a family physician, but they may not have the experience and skills necessary for every health issue.
Some specialists are better than others at treating certain kinds of illnesses, such as those involving the brain or kidneys. But some studies have shown that the quality of care provided by a general practitioner is often just as good or even better than that provided by a specialist.
Health care is a complex system that must be organized and delivered well to deliver the best outcomes for everyone. No two countries are alike when it comes to organizing and delivering health care, making it valuable to learn from those who succeed in creating effective systems.
In this report, the Commonwealth Fund compared the performance of 11 high-income countries’ health care systems on 71 measures across five domains: access to care, care process, administrative efficiency, equity, and health care outcomes. The United States ranks last overall on these measures, despite spending far more of its gross domestic product on health care than any other country.
1. Spending on health care has increased significantly in all countries, but the U.S. has slowed its rate of increase over the years.
As a result, spending as a share of GDP has been relatively flat in most nations. In contrast, in the United States it has grown rapidly since 1980, outpacing growth in the rest of the world.
2. Inequities in access to care are widespread, including for low-income and uninsured individuals.
These differences in access to care can be traced back to policy decisions and financing arrangements that have shaped the United States’ health care landscape. Achieving equity in the distribution of health care is important for ensuring that all people have access to essential preventive services and quality care.