25 Eye-Popping Infographics on Global Healthcare Costs and Quality

by The Health Sensei on April 21, 2010

Health care politics aside, Americans and their global neighbors cannot expect immediate changes in healthcare disparities, poverty levels, infant mortality or cost and quality comparisons overnight. This list was compiled to remind readers about global health care costs and quality of care across the globe, with a special emphasis on women and infant care. The latter issues are important, as some of the highest infant mortality rates occur in the U.S.

The following list is categorized and the links are alphabetized within those categories by article title.

Healthcare Cost Comparisons

  1. Global Healthcare SnapshotGlobal Health-Care Snapshot: Three common measures of health-care quality show how well various countries stack up, by expenditure, life expectancy and infant mortality. The U.S. spends more, lives a shorter life, and has the largest infant mortality rate.
  2. Growth of Healthcare Costs 1990-2007: This chart shows the increase in healthcare costs across the globe, with the U.S. at 5.8 percent, about halfway along the scale. Note that the scale is along PPP (Purchasing Power Parity).
  3. Health Care Expenditures: An International Comparison: The countries are stacked in order of their World Health Organizations overall health ranking (a combination of population health and health system efficiency). Japan ranks first, with the U.S. coming almost last, before Turkey and after Finland.
  4. Health Care Expenditure on Health by Percentage of GDP: This chart shows the overall world health expenditures by percentage of the Country’s Gross Domestic Product as of 2005. The U.S. wins this one by a huge margin over thirty other countries.
  5. National Health Care Spending Levels: A Global Comparison: This article provides several graphs as well as a link to the OEDC data and reports. One report, hospital beds per 1000 population shows the U.S. at the low end.
  6. Per Capita Total Current Health Care ExpendituresPer Capita Total Current Health Care Expenditures, U.S. and Selected Countries 2007: These amounts are in U.S. dollars PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) as well, and includes only countries over $2,500. Original source is OECD Health Data 2009.
  7. The Cost of Care: The United States spends more on medical care per person than any country, yet life expectancy is shorter than in most other developed nations and many developing ones, according to this National Geographic infographic.
  8. U.S. Health Spending Breaks From the Pack: This New York Times article from 2009 points to the U.S. as the only industrialized nation spending “a (much) higher percentage of its gross domestic product on health care than its peers. It also spends (much) more per person on health care than its peers.”
  9. Why Does U.S. Health Care Cost So Much? Another New York Times article with a graph that shows the 2006 health spending per capita. The U.S. is off the chart.

Other Issues and Comparisons

  1. U.S. Lags in Personal HealthAmong OECD Nations, U.S. Lags in Personal Health: Among the residents of all 30 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries Gallup surveyed between 2006 and 2008, Americans’ satisfaction with their personal health falls near the group median.
  2. An International Update on the Comparative Performance of American Health Care: Despite having the most costly health system in the world, the U.S. consistently underperforms on most dimensions of performance.
  3. Comparative Quantification of Mortality and Burden of Disease Attributable to Selected Risk Factors: The graphs and information within this article supply a variety of information. One notable point: Individuals in high-income countries suffer more from high blood pressure.
  4. Global Distribution of Poverty: These data sets, presented in ZIP files, provide information for countries to help reduce poverty and related health factors involved with poverty.
  5. Global Focus On Personal Health RecordsGlobal Focus On Personal Health Records: According to this AARP report, electronic health records, despite the cost to the supplier, may lead to better health. France leads the way.
  6. Not “Socialized Medicine” — An Israeli View of Health Care Reform: In 2007, the United States spent about 15 percentage of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health care, whereas Israel’s health care spending was about 8 percentage of its GDP, yet life in Israel is longer than life in the U.S.
  7. Number of Health Workers: Working on the assumption that more doctors and more health workers per capita means better health care and better health care means better health, the US rates high along with other industrialized nations.
  8. World Health Report 2008 [PDF]: This report focuses on primary health care and emphasizes that people are increasingly impatient with the inability of health services to deliver levels of coverage that meet demands.

Women’s, Infant and Maternal Health

  1. A Global Look At Women's Attitudes Toward Domestic AbuseA Global Look At Women’s Attitudes Toward Domestic Abuse: For some reason, a large percentage of women aged 15-49 feel that it is acceptable for a husband to hit his wife. The U.S. is not included in this survey.
  2. Bans ‘do not cut abortion rate’: Restricting the availability of legal abortion does not appear to reduce the number of women trying to end unwanted pregnancies, a major report suggests.
  3. Behind International Rankings of Infant Mortality: How the United States Compares with Europe: This graph shows that the U.S. infant mortality rates for infants born at 37 weeks of gestation or more are higher than in most European countries.
  4. Evidence-based Interventions for Major Causes of Maternal Mortality: This graph shows that severe bleeding and “indirect causes” are the main culprits behind maternal mortality globally.
  5. GLOBAL poverty distribution — infant mortality as poverty indicator: This map shows that poverty levels may be an indicator of infant mortality rates.
  6. HIV/AIDS and Women’s Health: Information about HIV/AIDS and women across the globe, including a graph that shows the percentage of pregnant women who received an HIV test in low- and -middle income countries by region.
  7. Maternal and Perinatal Conditions: When two out of eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are exclusively targeted at mothers and children, this is testament to the significant proportion of the global burden of disease they suffer. Learn more at this site, which includes various statistics.
  8. Maternal Mortality: Across the developing world, maternal mortality levels remain too high, with more than 500,000 women dying every year as a result of complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

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