For those in the health care industry, or any industry in fact, it is great to hear that we are doing something right. Last month Australia received some high praise, being ranked second best when it came to healthcare amongst 11 high income countries, being beaten only by Britain who took the coveted number one position.
The study was conducted by a team of US researchers, The Commonwealth Fund, which saw their own country being ranked last. In order to measure performance, the study covered five key areas of healthcare: access, equity, care process, administrative efficiency and health care outcomes. Australia had mixed positions when it came to these five key areas; ranking highly in the care process, administrative efficiency and health outcome categories, fourth in the access category and a worrying eighth when it came to equity.
It was because of this low ranking in the equity section that self-congratulation on this number two ranking may be premature. While it is important to celebrate our successes, and give our healthcare staff the praise and recognition they deserve, it is important for us to not rest on our laurels and fail to see where further improvement can be made.
It’s important to look to the future
This insight into the performance of healthcare in comparison to other countries achieves two things: it shows us what we are doing right, and allows us to see areas where we can learn from other countries in order to improve our own system. Looking to the future, it is clear to see that advancements and changes need to be made in terms of equity.
Affordable access for all Australians is now our goal and we need to consider that while we are offering quality care, one in 10 Australian are struggling to get the care they need because of the high costs. While patients may be suffering from the same disease, their location and their income can determine the type of care they receive and this is something we need to work towards fixing.
Change can happen
The last study of the healthcare system was conducted in 2014 and Australia managed to jump two spots since then to now be ranked second. It shows we are improving, and with further thought and discussion, the equity problem our healthcare system faces could be overcome.