Americans Not Happy About Health Care
Medical Authors and Editors: Barbara K. Hecht,
Frederick Hecht, M.D.
October 28, 2004 -- A very important report has been
released today by the Commonwealth Fund concerning primary health care and the news is not good for
the United States. Americans are most unhappy about the care they receive.
Primary care is at the center of medical care
systems. It provides an entry point to health care, delivers core medical and
preventive care, and helps patients coordinate and integrate care. Ready access
to effective primary care also offers the potential to reduce disparities in
care, increasing people's opportunities to live healthy, productive lives. The challenge is how to
redesign primary care to make care more accessible, continuous, coordinated,
patient-centered and engage patients in their own care
A survey was done by the Commonwealth Fund of primary care experiences in 5
industrialized countries -- Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and US.
Shortfalls were found in the delivery of safe, effective, timely, and
patient-centered care. Delays in lab test results and test errors raise safety
concerns. Failures to communicate, to engage patients, and to promote health are
widespread. Aside from clinical preventive care, the US performed poorly on most
care dimensions, with notable cost-related access concerns and short-term