Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Measuring the Health of the Public

The Institute of Medicine released the first of three Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-commissioned reports on public health today:
The United States spends more money on health care than any other country in the world, but there's much more to good health than getting health care from doctors and hospitals. In fact, life expectancy in the United States ranks 49th among all nations, and infant mortality rates are higher in the United States than in many less-affluent nations. A new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)-commissioned Institute of Medicine (IOM) report argues that America’s less-than-stellar standing in these population health measures stems in part from inadequacies in the country’s system for gathering, analyzing and communicating health information that focuses not just on clinical care data but on the underlying factors that contribute to poor health, such as health behaviors and social determinants. The IOM report, For the Public’s Health: The Role of Measurement in Action and Accountability, reinforces the urgency to address health not just in the doctor’s office but where it starts—in our homes, schools, jobs and communities.

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