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Subject Indicators of public health care at a glance
Date 2013-12-05 Hit 3065

Indicators of public health care at a glance

- Major indicators of “OECD Health at a Glance 2013” analyzed by the Ministry of Health and Welfare -

The Ministry of Health and Welfare analyzed major statistics and statuses regarding health care from “Health at a Glance 2013,” a biannual publication by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and publicized the results.

The OECD distributed the 2013 edition to its member countries, which included comparable data regarding health conditions, major medical staff, and the quality and costs of health care.

Every two years, the organization selects a field requiring attention in the present or the future, and publishes a report based on documents submitted by professional organizations (experts) of member states after it has been reviewed by the OECD secretariat and other related experts.

The report is considered objective, extensively comprehensive, and an easy way to grasp the general standards of health care, making it frequently cited and used as a basic source of information for policy making in regards to health care.

Upon publishing results based on the data from 2011, the OECD took notice of the decrease in health care costs in one third of its members after the financial crisis, and in its press release pointed out the importance of improving health care systems more productively, effectively, and affordably.

* Spending per capita fell in 11 of 33 OECD countries between 2009 and 2011, notably by 11.1% in Greece and 6.6% in Ireland.

* Only Israel and Japan saw the rate of health spending growth accelerate since 2009 compared with the previous decade.

* The annual average increase rates of medical costs per person in Korea reached 9.3% between the year 2000 and 2009, and 6.3% between the year 2009 and 2011.

The OECD found that Governments have worked to lower spending through cutting prices of medical goods, especially pharmaceuticals, and by budget restrictions and wage cuts in hospitals and reducing prevention program. The OECD warns that those reductions in the supply of health services and changes in their financing through increases in direct out-of-pocket payments for patients are also affecting access to care.

In addition, the organization presented that the average life expectancy of its member nations was over 80 years old, and other noteworthy changes included an increase of chronic diseases such as diabetes and dementia, and a general rise in market shares of generic drugs.

The documents below are comparisons and analyses based on excerptions of indicators recorded in “Health at a Glance 2013” which requires attention, and the full edition can be found on the OECD website (www.oecd.org/health/healthataglance).

The OECD produces and publishes the biannual article based on statistics regarding health care from its member states.

Korea submitted 772 out of 921 detailed items (84%) requested by the organization this year.  The items were drawn up with help from Research fellow Chang Young-sik at the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs, Professor Jeong Hyung-sun at Yonsei University, Director Kim Sun-min from the Health Insurance Review & Assessment Service, and experts from the Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

When interpreting and utilizing the health care-related statistics from the OECD, readers should not make generalized conclusions regarding overall health care conditions based on certain specific items, and should always consider the results from various fields to make final judgments.

* Note: In addition to health care conditions such as type of health care system, its history and ways of payment, economic levels, cultural differences, and urbanization levels can have an effect on the data.


n  (Life expectancy and major diseases) Life expectancy for Korea was 81.1 years old in 2011 (the OECD average life expectancy was 80.1 years old)*. Life expectancy for Korean females was 84.5 years old (82.8) and males was 77.7 years old (77.3), both of which were higher than the OECD averages.
    * Hereafter, the numbers in (  ) is the OECD average.

l  (Infant mortality) The infant death rate improved as it reached 3.0 out of 1,000 babies (4.1), which is much lower than the OECD average (29.4%).

l  (Cancer) The death rate from cancer was 290.0 out of 10,000 males (277.7), higher than the OECD average, and 119.9 out of 10,000 females (165.8), lower than the OECD average.

l  (Ischemic health disease and cerebrovascular disease) The death rate from ischemic heart disease was 42.3 out of 10,000 males (122.2), the second-lowest following Japan, and the death rate from cerebrovascular disease was 79.7 persons (69.1), higher than the OECD average.

l  (Diabetes) The type 1 diabetes rate for infants and children aged between 0 and 14 years old was 1.1 out of 10,000 persons (17.2), lower than the OECD average.

      The diabetes rate for adults aged between 20 and 79 years old reached 7.7%, higher than the OECD average.

      Diabetes rates of adults: U.S. 9.6%, Germany 5.5%, United Kingdom 5.4%, and Sweden 4.4%

      Type 1 diabetes: diabetes mellitus, the pancreas produces little or no insulin

n  (Alcohol and tobacco consumption) The rates of alcohol consumption and overweight and obesity were lower than the OECD averages, while the rate of smoking was higher than the OECD average.

           l  The alcohol consumption rate per person aged 15 years old was 8.9 liters (9.4), but the annual decrease rate of alcohol consumption between the year 1990 and 2011 was as low as 2.2% (3.6%).

          l  The overweight or obesity rate for adults was 4.3% (17.6), and the rate of smoking for older than 15 years was 23.2 % (20.9), which shows that it is necessary to be concerned about reducing alcohol and quitting smoking.

n  (Health workforce) The number of practicing doctors, practicing nurses, and graduates from medical schools were lower than OECD averages, while the entire number of hospital beds was higher than the OECD average.

l  The number of practicing doctors was 2.0 per 1,000 people (3.2) and the number of graduates from medical schools was 8.0 per 10,000 people (10.6), which indicates that mid- and long-term supplies of medical staff are required.

 * The number of practicing doctors in Korea showed a 56.9 percent increase in 2011 compared to 2000 while the OECD average was a 18.4 percent increase as most member countries including the U.K. (43.4%), Sweden (24.9%), Germany (17.8%), Japan (14.5%), the U.S. (7.4%), and France (1.5%) showed an increase in numbers as well.

l  The number of practicing nurses was 4.7 per 1,000 people (8.8), lower than the OECD average, but the annual increase rate compared to the year 2000 was 4.3 % (1.6%).

l  The total number of hospital beds was 9.6 per 1,000 people (5.0), the second-highest among the OECD members following Japan (13.4 beds).

n  (Using health care) The number of consultations with doctor, the average length of stay, and the number of MRI and CT scanners were higher than the OECD averages.

l  The number of outpatient consultations with doctor person was 13.2 rounds (6.7), the highest among the OECD members.

l  The average length of stay was 16.4 days (8.0), higher than the OECD average, while the average number of days of hospitalization for normal childbirth was 2.6 days (3.0), lower than the OECD average.

l  The number of MRI scanners per one million people was 21.3 units (13.3) and the number of CT scanners was 35.9 units (23.6).




(Quality of health care) The five-year relative survival rate for cervical cancer was 76.8% (66.0) and the five-year relative survival rate for colorectal cancer was 72.8% (61.3), both of which were the highest among OECD member states.
* In addition, the rate of re-hospitalization for schizophrenia was 19.4% (12.9), higher than the OECD average, which shows the necessity to improve mental health care systems. High quality services for patients hospitalized for schizophrenia, and appropriate post-discharge care can prevent re-hospitalization.

n  (Health Expenditure and Financing) Total Health expenditure reached 91.2 trillion won, which accounts for 7.4% (9.3%) of the GDP.
* (’00) 26.1 trillion won → (’05) 48.7 trillion won → (’08) 67.6 trillion won → (’11) 91.2 trillion won
* The health expenditure as share of GDP in the U.S. was 17.7%, the highest among the OECD members, followed by the Netherlands with 11.9% and France with 11.6%.

* Among the OECD countries, Poland (6.9%), Luxemburg (6.6%), Mexico (6.2%), Turkey (6.1%), and Estonia (5.9%) showed lower health expenditure as share of GDP than Korea.

l  Health expenditure per capita adjusted for purchasing power parity (ppp) was 2,198 USD (OECD 3,322 USD), lower than the OECD average, but the average increase rate of health care spending per capita was 9.3% (4.1), more than twice as high as the OECD average, showing the highest increase rate among the OECD countries.

l  Public health expenditure was 49.3 trillion won, which accounts for 56.6% (72.4%) of regular medical fees, up 4.6 percentage points compared to 52% in 2000. This figure is considered low among the OECD members.
* (’00) 12.8 trillion won → (’05) 25.5 trillion won → (’08) 36.1 trillion won → (’11) 49.3 trillion won.
* Chile, Mexico, and the U.S. (lower than 50%) showed the lowest public health expenditure among current health expenditure, while Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands had comparatively higher ratios (higher than 85%).

l  Private household out-of-pocket expenditure was 32.1 trillion won, which accounts for 36.8% (19.8) of regular medical fees, down 5.0 percentage points compared to 41.8% in the year 2000. This figure is high among the OECD member countries.
* (’00) 10.3 trillion won → (’05) 18.3 trillion won → (’08) 24.0 trillion won → (’11) 32.1 trillion won.

l  Also, investment in prevention and public health programs was 2.7 trillion won, which accounts for 3.1% of regular medical fees, showing an increase compared to 2.6% in the year 2008. Expenditure of medical goods and others was 18.4 trillion won, accounting for 21.2% of regular medical fees. This figure decreased compared to 22.5% in 2008 but the amount of expenditure increased by 28.7% compared to 14.3 trillion won in 2008.
* Prevention, etc.: (’00) 0.5 trillion won → (’05) 0.9 trillion won → (’08) 1.7 trillion won → (’11) 2.7 trillion won.
* Medicines, etc.: (’00) 5.2 trillion won → (’05) 10.9 trillion won → (’08) 14.3 trillion won → (’11) 18.4 trillion won.

l  Public health spending in the future is estimated at 96 trillion won in 2012 and 101 trillion won in 2013 (estimation by the Yonsei University office of industry-academy cooperation).
- The Committee of Vision for Health Care in 2011 speculated that if the current medical fees continue to increase, the fees will go over 200 trillion won in 2020.

n  (Aging and long-term care) The proportion of senior citizens older than 65 years in Korea in the year 2010 was 11% (15%), and the figure is expected to reach 37% (27%) in the year 2050.

l  The number of long-term care beds per 1,000 people older than 65 years was 46.1 (19.1), higher than an OECD average, while the most rapid increase in long-term care facilities and related expenditures have been seen for the last 10 years.
* Number of long-term care beds per 1,000 people aged 65 and older:
Sweden 73.4, Germany 52.1, U.K. 51.7, U.S. 40.9, and Japan 36.7. 

l  The annual increase rate of long-term care beds in facilities between the year 2000 and 2011 was 26.3% while the annual increase rate in hospitals was 41.6%.

l  The annual increase rate of public long-term care costs against Korea’s GDP between 2005 and 2011 was 43.9%, which suggests that short- and long-term plans are required to prevent an oversupply of long-term care beds.

l  In other OECD countries, more than 15% of people older than 50 years are directly or indirectly involved in long-term care for their family members. Korea also needs to collect related statistics and suggest necessary policies.

In order to raise people’s hopes and maintain public health, the Ministry of Health and Welfare plans to improve health care systems, strengthen investments, collect statistics indicators for policy making, raise policy efficiency, and contribute to the government’s transparent management by publicly sharing all such data.


[ENG][11.20]_Indicators_of_public_health_care_at_a_glance.docx (241 KB / Download : 518)


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