How does the quality of the U.S. health care system compare to other countries?

This chart collection compares the quality of health care in the United States to that in other wealthy and sizable countries. While inconsistent and imperfect metrics make it difficult to firmly assess system-wide health quality in the U.S., a review of the available data prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic suggests that in most of these measures, the U.S. continued to lag behind comparably wealthy and sizable countries.

The United States has higher rates of overall mortality, deaths amenable to health care, and potential years of life lost. Although the United States has lower mortality rates for breast and colorectal cancer, comparable countries continue to outperform the U.S. on a number of measures, including hospital admissions for preventable diseases; rates of medical, medication and lab errors; and cost-related access barriers to health care. The United States has one of the highest death rates due to COVID-19 across the world, and its mortality rates will likely increase.

The chart collection is part of the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker, an online information hub dedicated to monitoring and assessing the performance of the U.S. health system.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270

www.kff.org | Email Alerts: kff.org/email | facebook.com/KaiserFamilyFoundation | twitter.com/kff

Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.