How High-Need Patients Experience the Health Care System in Nine Countries

Abstract

U.S. health care costs are disproportionately concentrated among older adults with multiple chronic conditions or functional limitations—a population often referred to as “high-need” patients. This analysis uses data from the Commonwealth Fund 2014 International Health Policy Survey of Older Adults to investigate health care use, quality, and experiences among high-need patients in nine countries compared with other older adults. High-need patients use a greater amount of health care services and also experience more coordination problems and financial barriers to care compared with other older adults. Disparities are particularly pronounced in the United States. The comparative success of other countries, particularly in reducing financial barriers to care, may be a product of policies that specifically target high-need patients. Similarly focusing on these populations in the U.S. and effectively managing their care may improve their health status while reducing overall costs.

 

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