iLoveBenefits: Industry News Blog

90% of Strokes are Preventable

The Lancet recently published a study on the modifiable risk factors behind strokes. Here are some key findings from the report:

  • 10 controllable risk factors account for 90% of all strokes.
  • Eliminating high blood pressure was estimated to reduce risk by 48%.
  • High blood pressure causes 39% of strokes in North America, Australia and western Europe.
  • 60% of strokes in Southeast Asia are caused by high blood pressure.
  • Eliminating physical inactivity was estimated to reduce stroke risk by 36%.
  • Stroke risk is reduced by an estimated 23% when a poor diet is improved.

Source: The Lancet, July 15, 2016

How does the US Health Care System Compare

This from the Commonwealth Fund

October 17, 2014
Compare the U.S. Health System to Its International Peers with a New Interactive ToolThe U.S. health care system may be the most expensive in the world, but that doesn’t mean it outperforms other industrialized countries. Far from it. Using the Commonwealth Fund’s new interactive tool, now you can see what would happen if the U.S. were to raise its health system performance to the levels achieved elsewhere in the world. Users can select from 11 health systems compared in our report Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, 2014 Update: How the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally and click through a range of performance measures to see the potential for U.S. improvement.
Use the interactive
2014 © The Commonwealth Fund

THE COMMONWEALTH FUND | New York Headquarters: One E 75th St, New York, NY 10021 | Phone: 212.606.3800

Over use is a human condition, not an American condition

India’s battle against unneeded medical care finds World Bank support Reuters reports: India needs to curtail excessive medical care that leads to patient overspending as more people get health insurance, the World Bank said on Thursday, adding voice to a growing chorus against overtreatment in the country. Reuters, July 31, 2014

% of Patients Experiencing Cost-Related Healthcare Access Problem by Country

infoGraphoid: % of Patients Experiencing Cost-Related Healthcare Access Problem by Country

November 20, 2013 | Categories: Cost,healthcare,International Healthcare | Tags: , , | Comments (0)

Health care: Who’s use of resources is higher and by what standard

Here is a very interesting article by John Goodman, at least it will make you think…

I don’t really want to pick on Robert Frank. I usually enjoy his columns. But in a single New York Times editorial – comparing U.S. and Swedish health care – he manages to repeat just about every major misconception about health economics that you are likely to run into. So let’s do pick on him – for purposes of edifying everyone else.

Cost. Frank begins by telling us that Sweden spends less than half of what we spend on health care in this country. But how does he know that? In every health care system in the world the market has been so completely suppressed that no one ever faces a real price for anything. The conventional method of determining how much is spent in a market is to add up all the individual transactions (price*quantity). But if all the individual prices are phony, summing over them all will produce one big phony number.

As a good economist, Frank must know that the real cost of health care is the value of the alternative uses of the real resources that are used to produce that care. So an alternative to adding up questionable monetary totals is to count real resources. And on that score, the picture looks very different.

For example, the United States has fewer doctors per capita than Sweden has. We also have fewer nurses and fewer medical school graduates. Swedes enter hospitals more frequently than we do and once there they stay longer. On the whole, we may be “spending” less than the Swedes are spending.

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Smartphone use in Australia to aid parents in accessing child’s health records

Smartphone  app to track NSW baby health

Ninemsn reports: NSW parents will be able to use a smartphone app to access
their child’s health records for the first time. The eBlue Book and smartphone
app is an electronic version of the hard copy blue book which NSW Health has
been distributing to parents since 1988 to record their babies’ growth into
early childhood.

Ninemsn, June 2, 2013

Achieving the Triple Aim: What the U.S. Can Learn from Other Countries

Countries around the world have realized some success in achieving the “Triple Aim” of health care: better health and better health care at lower cost. A new series of Commonwealth Fund–supported articles in the April issue of Health Affairs describes the lessons these successes hold for the U.S. health care system.

Read about:

  • How Australia instituted a strategy for reviewing and covering new prescription drugs that saved money without compromising quality.
  • How value-based cost-sharing has reduced prescription drug costs in some countries and brought higher-quality care to patients in others.
  • How European hospitals have improved upon Medicare’s hospital payment model.
  • And much more.

Visit to read summaries of all the articles and view our infographic comparing how selected countries are managing prescription drug costs.

International Profiles of Health Systems


As the United States prepares for   sweeping health reforms, it’s useful to look at how other countries organize   their health systems, provide insurance coverage, finance care, and ensure   quality.

In the newly updated and revised International   Profiles of Health Care Systems, you’ll find all you need to know about   the health care systems of a range of industrialized countries, including   Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Japan, Iceland, Italy,   the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland, as well as the   U.S.

The profiles, edited by researchers at the London School of Economics and   Political Science and The Commonwealth Fund, explain how each health system   works, discuss reforms and innovations, and present data on key health system   characteristics and performance indicators, such as overall health care   spending, hospital spending and utilization, access to care, patient safety,   and more.

November 30, 2012 | Categories: healthcare,International Healthcare | Tags: , | Comments (0)

Cost and Quality concerns are common across the globe

As much as we think our cost and quality issues are unique to our country, we see this from the Commonwealth Fund that reinforces that there are common issues across the globe that have yet to be solved.

Transatlantic Lessons on Health Reform

Despite significant differences in their health care systems, the United States and England face similar imperatives: reduce the cost of delivering care to aging populations and address deficiencies in quality and safety. A new article in the Lancet by Jennifer Dixon, MBchB, of the Nuffield Trust in London and Harvard Medical School’s David Blumenthal, M.D., chief health information and innovation officer at Partners Healthcare System in Boston, identifies major areas of reform where the two countries have common aims and may be able to learn from each other. These include:

  • payment reforms, such as experiments with bundled payments to encourage better coordination of health services across providers and sites of care
  • encouraging innovation through the creation of accountable care organizations in the U.S. and clinical commissioning groups in the U.K.
  • using electronic health records to improve clinical decision-making and patient engagement.

“Policymakers and health care managers in both countries should miss no opportunity to make progress by learning from one another, and from other international examples,” the authors conclude.

Since 1999, the Commonwealth Fund and Nuffield Trust have sponsored an annual meeting bringing together government officials, health researchers, and practitioners from the U.S. and U.K. for an exchange of ideas on quality improvement policies and strategies.

The increasing cost of health care is unsustainable — globally

The global cost of employee medical benefits is expected to increase 9.6% this year, rising 8.1% in Europe and at least 10% everywhere else, according to a new survey.

Source: “Medical Costs Continue to Rise at Double-Digit Levels Around the World, Towers Watson Survey Finds ,” Towers Watson Press Release, July 2, 2012,

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