• Correlates of health and healthcare performance: applying the Canadian health indicators framework at the provincial-territorial level

      Arah, OA; Westert, GP (BMC, 2005-12-01)
      Background Since, at the health system level, there is little research into the possible interrelationships among the various indicators of health, healthcare performance, non-medical determinants of health, and community and health system characteristics, we conducted this study to explore such interrelationships using the Canadian Health Indicators Framework. Methods We conducted univariate correlational analyses with health and healthcare performance as outcomes using recent Canadian data and the ten Canadian provinces and three territories as units of the analyses. For health, 6 indicators were included. Sixteen healthcare performance indicators, 12 non-medical determinants of health and 16 indicators of community and health system characteristics were also included as independent variables for the analysis. A set of decision rules was applied to guide the choice of what was considered actual and preferred performance associations. Results Health (28%) correlates more frequently with non-medical determinants than healthcare does (12%), in the preferred direction. Better health is only correlated with better healthcare performance in 13% of the cases in the preferred direction. Better health (24%) is also more frequently correlated with community and health system characteristics than healthcare is (13%), in the preferred direction. Conclusion Canadian health performance is a function of multiple factors, the most frequent of which may be the non-medical determinants of health and the community characteristics as against healthcare performance. The contribution of healthcare to health may be limited only to relatively small groups which stand to benefit from effective healthcare, but its overall effect may be diluted in summary measures of population health. Interpreting multidimensional, multi-indicator performance data in their proper context may be more complex than hitherto believed.
    • Health system outcomes and determinants amenable to public health in industrialized countries: a pooled, cross-sectional time series analysis

      Arah, Onyebuchi A; Westert, Gert P; Delnoij, Diana M; Klazinga, Niek S (BMC, 2005-08-02)
      Background Few studies have tried to assess the combined cross-sectional and temporal contributions of a more comprehensive set of amenable factors to population health outcomes for wealthy countries during the last 30 years of the 20th century. We assessed the overall ecological associations between mortality and factors amenable to public health. These amenable factors included addictive and nutritional lifestyle, air quality, public health spending, healthcare coverage, and immunizations. Methods We used a pooled cross-sectional, time series analysis with corrected fixed effects regression models in an ecological design involving eighteen member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development during the period 1970 to 1999. Results Alcohol, tobacco, and fat consumption, and sometimes, air pollution were significantly associated with higher all-cause mortality and premature death. Immunizations, health care coverage, fruit/vegetable and protein consumption, and collective health expenditure had negative effects on mortality and premature death, even after controlling for the elderly, density of practicing physicians, doctor visits and per capita GDP. However, tobacco, air pollution, and fruit/vegetable intake were sometimes sensitive to adjustments. Conclusion Mortality and premature deaths could be improved by focusing on factors that are amenable to public health policies. Tackling these issues should be reflected in the ongoing assessments of health system performance.