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Fraser Institute: Comparing Canada’s Health Care System with Other Countries – Clinical Performance and Quality

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In their annual comparison of health system performance, The Fraser Institute examined the relative quality and clinical performance of Canada’s health-care system, including 12 indicators of quality and clinical performance. These indicators are separated into five groups: primary care, acute care, mental health, cancer care and patient safety. While lower rates are preferable for certain indicators, the performances of countries on each indicator are ordered such that a rank of 1 indicates superior performance on all indicators.

The indicators examined do not measure the incidence of disease among the population of a country but rather the respective health-care system’s ability to effectively deliver care. For example, hospital admission rates for asthma are not included since these may largely reflect genetic and environmental factors. On the other hand, the age-sex standardized mortality rates (per 100 patients) within 30 days after admission to a hospital for an acute myocardial infarction (otherwise known as a heart attack) is included as these rates are more directly linked to the quality of care provided for a given prevalence of disease.

Canada has mixed performance when researchers examined these indicators of the quality of care and services provided. Out of 12 indicators, Canada performed well on five while performing average or below average on seven—despite being the second-highest spender (as a percentage of GDP) among high-income OECD countries with universal coverage.

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