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US adults most likely to report medical errors and skip needed care due to costs
Date:10/31/2007

Washington, DC, October 31, 2007At a time when the U.S. spends more than double what other countries spend for medical care$6,697 per capita in 2005a new Commonwealth Fund seven-nation survey finds that U.S. patients are more likely to report experiencing medical errors, to go without care because of costs, and to say that the health care system needs to be rebuilt completely. U.S. patients, along with Canadians, are also the least likely to be able to get a same-day appointment with their physicians when sick and the most likely to seek care in emergency rooms as an alternative. The study, published today in a Web Exclusive in the journal Health Affairs, finds that U.S. adults also have the highest out-of-pocket costs and greatest problems paying medical bills.

In the survey of 12,000 adults in Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, one third of U.S. adults called for rebuilding the system, the highest rate in any country surveyed. The U.S. also ranked last in saying only minor changes are needed in the health system.

In addition to cost concerns, U.S. patients report more fragmented and inefficient care, including medical record and test delays, perceptions of waste and more time spent on paperwork, compared to patients in other countries.

As policymakers and the public consider proposals for fundamental change, there are lessons to be learned from looking abroad. This survey shows that patients in the U.S. are frustrated by high costs and a complicated health care system, said Commonwealth Fund Senior Vice President Cathy Schoen, lead author of the article.

In terms of patient safety, adults in the U.S. report the highest rates of lab test errors and among the highest rates of medical or medication errors. Patient-reported errors were highest for those seeing multiple doctors or with multiple chronic illnesses. One-third of U.S. patients with chronic co
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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

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