Health Science Journal

  • ISSN: 1791-809X
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The role of health care systems on populations' health status and longevity: A comprehensive analysis

Stefanos Tyrovolas, Evangelos Polychronopoulos, Yannis Tountas, Demosthenes Panagiotakos

Background: Western populations enjoy unprecedented wealth and longevity. This increase in life expectancy is staggering, posing tremendous challenges in disease burden, especially in chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Limited studies investigate the effect of health services on longevity in adult populations. In this work, findings from studies throughout the world are presented and analysed in order to evaluate the effect of health services on population’s health status. Methods: Published results from studies that assessed the associations of public health services (i.e., physicians supply) on longevity were retrieved (searches in Pubmed, Scopus, up to January 2010) and summarized. Results: Few studies, mostly located in the US and UK, have evaluated the role of health services on the population’s health status. The majority of the studies reported an association between the frequency of physicians and mortality, while some other studies reported weak or no associations between physician supply and longevity. No data are available regarding other health care services, like nursing or dietetics support. Conclusion: Although very few data are available, it seems that there is a relation between quality and quantity of health care services and longevity. However, there is still a serious lack of evidence especially in other areas of health services as well as in various populations.