The U.S. lacks a cohesive, national strategy and the appropriate measurement tools to track and respond to the social and environmental factors that shape life expectancy and health-related quality of life, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine.
U.S. lacks population-health strategy: report
“Although the United States invests over 17% of its gross domestic product on medical care—far more than any nation—we lag behind other countries in several measures of health,” Marthe Gold, chairwoman of the committee that led the report, said in a news release about the findings.
Sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the IOM report said HHS needs to provide greater leadership, coordination, and guidance to the population health information and statistics system, as well facilitate efforts to integrate population health data collection, analysis and reporting. HHS should also provide guidance on how to develop and select health indicators and analyze the effects of various determinants over time. In addition, the U.S. should also adopt a single summary measure of population health to serve as the GDP equivalent for the health sector, the report suggested.
The U.S. and other countries have used death rates as the standard measure of population health. “However, life expectancy is a blunt tool. It cannot capture the diminution in life experience and capacities that is associated with the chronic illnesses and injuries that are of increasing prevalence in modern society,” the 170-page report said.
In 2009, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation asked the IOM to convene a committee to analyze three areas of public health: measurement, the law, and funding; this is the first of the committee's reports.
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