How has the quality of U.S. healthcare changed over time?

Inconsistent or unavailable data and imperfect metrics make it difficult to firmly judge system-wide health quality in the United States, but a review of existing data suggests that the system is improving in several areas. This slideshow offers a picture of health trends in the United States. It shows improvement in mortality rates, infant mortality, deaths amenable to health care,  and potential years of life lost, among other areas. The United States also has made progress in measures related to the quality of care, such as the number of hospital-acquired conditions, Medicare 30-day readmission rates, and the share of people receiving evidence-based care for heart attack upon arrival to the hospital. Teen pregnancy rates and the percentage of children receiving recommended doses of vaccines also show positive trends over time.

The slideshow is part of the Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker, an online information hub dedicated to monitoring and assessing the performance of the U.S. health system. More information about the analysis related to the slideshow is available through the tracker.

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