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Charts of the Week
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Charts of the Week: Health care data

In this week’s edition of Charts of the Week, a sampling of health care-related data drawn from the research of the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy.

Half to two-thirds of ambulance rides involve out-of-network providers

Despite their best efforts to remain in-network, many people seeking medical care often are treated by out-of-network providers, especially in emergency situations. The “surprise billing” that may result can be very large, beyond what the patient thought they would be paying. The chart below shows the most common circumstances leading to out-of-network care. Researchers from the Schaeffer Initiative have studied surprise billing and new approaches to address it.

Percentage of visis leading to a potential surprise out-of-network bill

Pediatric doctors at low end of compensation; orthopedists at top

In a recent Schaeffer Iniative white paper, researchers find that “the U.S. medical education system has produced an increasingly specialized physician workforce without any strategic direction toward achieving a socially desirable mix of primary care physicians (PCPs) and specialists.” The charts below shows gaps in earnings across a variety of medical specialties. “We conclude,” the authors write, “that the mix of physicians in the US has too few PCPs and too many specialists, the income gap between the two is a major determinant of the PCP/specialty mix, and Medicare physician payment policy is a major contributor to the income gap.”

High-income country diseases get the most funding, BUT LOWER-INCOME COUNTRIES MIGHT STILL BENEFIT

“What we pay for medicines today affects the number and kinds of drugs discovered tomorrow,” write the authors of a report published by the Schaeffer Initiative. And incentives for drug development by the pharmaceutical industry are driven by expected future revenues, which in turn means that the most common diseases in developed countries receive the most attention. The chart below shows the leading causes of death between high-income countries and the rest.

Comparison of leading causes of death between high-income and lower-middle income countries. Tuberculosis and diarrhoeal diseases are highlighted in lower-middle-income countries, whole Alzheimer's and dementias are highlighted in high-income countries

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