Israel Awarded 6th Place in the Health Care Efficiency Index
In 2018, Israel climbed up one level to 6th place on the Bloomberg Health Care Efficiency Index. Every year, Bloomberg publishes a new index that assesses and ranks the health care efficiency of 56 countries. In order to qualify for the list, the countries must have a population of over five million, life expectancies of over 70, and a per capita GDP of over $5,000.
Ahead of Israel on the Bloomberg index are (from first to fifth place): Hong Kong, Singapore, Spain, Italy, and South Korea. All the way at the bottom of the list are Bulgaria, the United States, Azerbaijan, Russia, Serbia, and Brazil.
The criteria for determining rank on the Bloomberg index are each valued differently and include: life expectancy (60%); national per capita health care spending in relation to GDP (30%); per capita spending on health in dollars (10%). Israel weighed in at 67 points, in contrast to Hong Kong, which came in at first place with 87.3 points. At the bottom is the United States, with a rating of only 29.6. This is largely because life expectancy in the US is only 79, despite spending 16.8% of their GDP on health.
One reason that Israel ranks so high on numerous global health indices is its high life expectancy of 82.5. However, Israel’s national spending on health is only 7.3% of GDP, which is significantly lower than the OECD average of 9%. Together, Israel’s low health spending and high life expectancy points to a very efficient health system. However, it also indicates that Israel’s future rankings for health achievements may fall – as the decline of public spending on health does not bode well.
Other statistics report that Israel’s public spending on health has dropped to 63%, the lowest proportion in the OECD. At the same time, private health spending rose to 36% (compared to a 28% OECD average). This trend is associated with less investment in the health system’s personnel and infrastructure. As a result, more people in Israel have turned to using private medicine, and the achievements of Israel’s health system are therefore due largely to private money. Over time, this will undermine the basis of the country’s public health system.
The insufficient budget has manifested itself in a number of ways in the public health system. The amount of hospital beds per 1,000 patients is only three (OECD average = 4.7); the number of nurses per 1,000 patients is five (OECD average = 9.3); the number of MRI devices for every million residents is 4.9 (OECD average = 16). In contrast to these low numbers, the hospital bed occupancy rate (the number of hospitalization days versus the potential number) rates at 94, which is higher than the OECD average of 75.
Overall, although Israel currently ranks 6th on the Bloomberg index, it may be a sign that Israel’s health system is not efficient – rather it could be at the start of a decline.