U.S. Health Care Spending Tops List
The U.S. spent the most money on health care per capita among industrialized countries in 2003, according to a report published Tuesday in the journal Health Affairs, the Baltimore Sun reports.
For the report, researchers from Johns Hopkins University and Princeton University examined data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and found that the U.S. spent $5,635 per person on health care in 2003 -- two-and-a-half times the $2,280 average among industrialized countries. U.S. spending was 48% higher than Norway, which was the second-highest spender per capita at $3,807.
Researchers said that the U.S. spends more than other nations in large part because of higher prices for health care goods and services. The study also finds that the U.S. spent 43 cents per capita on health technology -- less than one-tenth of the spending in Australia, which has the second-lowest spending level on health technology. Canada spends $31.85 per person and Germany spends $21.20 per person on health care IT, researchers said.
According to the study, the U.S. lags "at least a dozen years" behind other industrialized countries in adopting electronic health records. The study notes that health care IT is believed to reduce and improve patient safety, although there have been no definitive studies on the issue (Salganik, Baltimore Sun, 5/10).
An abstract of the study is available online.