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How does Australia’s health compare to other OECD countries?

The article was originally posted on LinkedIn by Richard Juckes, Health Group Head, AIHW.

In the midst of a global pandemic, the ability to assess Australia’s health and health systems on an international scale has become increasingly important for the continued improvement of effective and appropriate health care for all Australians.

Two years ago we released a first-of-its-kind Australia-specific data tool that allows for the comparison of international health and health care indicators. Today’s release, International health data comparisons 2020, provides updated insights into data from 37 OECD countries with a focus on Australia’s performance on a number of themes, including life expectancy, health risk factors, and health insurance coverage.

The tool shows that Australia performs relatively well across most of the indicators. For example, Australia has a life expectancy at birth of 82.8 years—above the OECD average of 80.7 years, and 7th highest among OECD countries. But of course, there are areas for improvement: Australia had the second highest rate of obese men across OECD countries (32%), behind the United States (38%).

The data visualisation tool also allows readers to compare aspects of our health system, such as the remuneration of health professionals. Other themes to explore include: health status and morbidity, long-term care, pharmaceutical market, health insurance and waiting times for elective surgery.

I’d like to thank and congratulate my team for this innovative and resourceful tool. It is our hope that its use will facilitate international comparative reporting, support policy planning and decision-making.

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