Cathy Schoen, Robin Osborn, Michelle M. Doty, David Squires, Jordon Peugh
C. Schoen, R. Osborn, M. M. Doty, D. Squires, J. Peugh, and S. Applebaum, "A Survey of Primary Care Physicians in 11 Countries, 2009: Perspectives on Care, Costs, and Experiences," Health Affairs Web Exclusive, Nov. 5, 2009, w1171–w1183.
A study of more than 10,000 primary care physicians in 11 countries finds the United States lags far behind in terms of access to care, the use of financial incentives to improve the quality of care, and the use of health information technology. In other countries, national policies have sped the adoption of such innovations.
Research shows that strong primary care is associated with good health outcomes and lower costs. It also can help meet the challenges presented by aging populations and the rising incidence of chronic disease. Across the globe, countries are working to redesign their primary care systems by investing in information technology, round-the-clock access, teamwork, integration, and quality improvement. They also are working to reform delivery systems and payment policies. This study surveyed primary care physicians in 11 countries to find out what is happening on the front lines of health care.
The advanced health information technology and extensive use of quality incentives and care teams reported by Australian, Dutch, and New Zealand doctors reflect national payment and information system policies focused on primary care. Lacking such policies, the U.S. lags far behind its peers in these areas—even as it spends far more on health care overall. In addition, insurance coverage restrictions make it difficult for many U.S. physicians to provide their patients with timely access to care.
The authors surveyed more than 10,000 primary care physicians in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Data were collected by mail, by telephone, and over the Internet between February and July 2009.
Despite spending more on health care than other countries, an international survey finds the United States lags behind on important measures of access, quality, and use of health information technology. There are opportunities to learn as other countries move ahead to enhance the primary care foundations of their health care systems.