Archive for Healthcare


Is Education More Important to Health Than Access?

A new report suggests that education is more important to an individual’s overall health than access to health care.

According to the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center on Society and Health,

More education means better health – in part because more education brings better jobs, improved access to health insurance, and higher earnings that can help pay for medical expenses and a healthier lifestyle. Conversely, people with less education tend to have more challenges accessing health services – lower rates of health insurance coverage and less money to afford copayments and prescription drugs; they are also more likely to live in low-income neighborhoods with limited access to primary care providers.

Improved access to health care may improve overall health but it will not necessarily compensate for the entire difference in health status between those with more and those with less education.  In fact, the disparity even exists, the report notes, in countries like Great Britain where the entire population has access to the same national health care system.

Learn more about the possible effects of education on health status here, in the Virginia Commonwealth University Center on Society and Health policy brief “Health Care:  Necessary But Not Sufficient.”…

New Report Tracks Community Health Care Access, Cost, Quality, Outcomes

A new report from the Commonwealth Fund’s Commission on a High Performance Health System examines health care access, cost, quality, and outcomes across 306 areas in the U.S. that are referred to in the report as “hospital referral regions.”

The report tracks 43 health care indicators across four dimensions of hospital performance:  access, prevention and treatment, costs, and potentially avoidable hospital use.  Not surprisingly, the report concludes that performance in all of these factors varies widely across the country and in general is best in the northeast and upper midwest.

Read a summary of the report and download an executive summary, the entire report, a set of charts, and a presentation on the report here, on the Commonwealth Fund’s web site.   Interactive maps and access to more detailed and region-specific and comparative data can be found here.…

New Quality Care Directory

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has unveiled what it calls “the nation’s most comprehensive online directory for patients to find reliable information on the quality of health care provided by physicians and hospitals in their communities.” The foundation further describes its new directory as “a map-based listing of health care performance measurement resources available across the country. The directory links to 197 free and publicly available reports in 46 states, as well as 27 reports with information on the performance of physicians and hospitals nationwide.” Learn more here.…