Treatment for diabetes fell farthest short of recommendations in a study of quality of care for 30 medical conditions. Overall, residents of the 12 metropolitan areas in the study received only 55% of recommended care for the conditions, according to a Rand Corp. report, which appears in the May/June issue of Health Affairs. Quality varied substantially across conditions, but overall performance was remarkably similar across communities, all of which "demonstrated important deficits in the provision of basic care," the report said. Read highlights of the report on Rand's Web site or the abstract in Health Affairs.
A second study, by the Commonwealth Fund, indicated that among five major nations -- the U.S., Canada, England, Australia and New Zealand -- none overwhelmingly outperformed the others on healthcare quality. The best performer on any of 21 quality measures was the worst performer on at least one other measure. For example, the U.S. had the highest five-year survival rate for breast cancer but the worst for kidney transplants. New Zealand had the highest suicide rate but the best outcomes for colorectal cancer. Read the study in the current issue of Health Affairs. -- by Jeff Tieman