Canada better than US at reducing avoidable deaths
Date: Wednesday, August 28 2002
Topic: International News
Canada better than U.S. at reducing avoidable deaths, study shows
The Associated Press
TORONTO - Canada's health care system has done a better job reducing the number of "avoidable deaths" over the last couple of decades than the U.S. health care system has, a new study shows.
The findings suggest critics of Canadian health care should focus more on what truly matters - whether the system is succeeding in keeping people alive - and less on how long people have to wait for expensive and hard-to-get diagnostic tests, the lead author says.
"We shouldn't just get lulled into having as many MRIs as we can. We should think of what the MRIs do as far as health outcomes," said Dr. Doug Manuel, a professor of community medicine at the University of Toronto and a scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.
The study was published Wednesday in the American Journal of Public Health.
Manuel and co-author Yang Mao, of Health Canada's Laboratory Center for Disease Control, looked at 15 years of death records to determine how the two countries were doing in reducing deaths from causes considered preventable. Those records covered the years 1980 to 1996.
The causes they looked at were: asthma, cervical and breast cancer, hypertension, heart disease, peptic ulcer, tuberculosis, Hodgkin's disease, death in childbirth and a category that included surgeries for appendicitis, gall stones and hernias.