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July 27, 2011

Facts, Facts, Facts: What Is a Physician to Do?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: RAND Corporation and David Geffen UCLA School of Medicine, Santa Monica, California.

JAMA. 2011;306(4):432-433. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1021

It is a cliché to observe that everyone lives in a global economy. Anyone who travels internationally can see how rapidly the world is becoming similar in terms of shops, goods, and services. Perhaps it is timely to reengage physicians in the discussion of international comparative data about health care and to ask why the United States is so provincial in designing the systems by which care is delivered.

Recently the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published Health at a Glance 2009,1 the annual compilation of health statistics from 30 countries. Even though most of the data are from 2007, these statistics provide revealing snapshots of various aspects of health and health systems, especially when comparing several US statistics to comparable statistics from other countries.

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