U.S. ranks last among six nations in patient safety, surveys find

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The U.S. spends more than other countries on healthcare but ranks lower in the eyes of patients on safety, efficiency, equity and other measures of care, two new reports say.

The reports, which the Commonwealth Fund released this week, detail findings from surveys of adults' healthcare experiences in the United States, Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. While the U.S. healthcare system was top among countries in terms of effectiveness, it ranked last for equity, efficiency, patient safety and patient-centeredness. It ranked third for timeliness of care.

But compared to other countries, the U.S. spends more on healthcare as a percentage of gross domestic product. The U.S. spent $5,635 per person on healthcare in 2003. Next was Canada, which spent $3,003 per person. New Zealand spent the least –- $1,886 per person.

See the reports at and at http://www.cmwf.org/usr_doc/915_Davis_mirror_mirror.pdf. (Click on Health Care Quality at left.)