Your Health System Can Kill You: the concept of amenable mortality

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn | Health Populi | September 1, 2011

Everyone knows what “mortality” is: a fatal outcome, or in a word, death. Then what is “amenable mortality?” It’s mortality that can be averted by good health care. Poverty, race, hospital readmission rates, and care for chronic disease are factors that can prevent death in America, according to a study by researchers from The Commonwealth Fund, Mortality Amendable to Health Care in the United States: The Roles of Demographics and Health Systems Performance.

Amenable mortality is based on the concept that deaths from certain causes should not occur in the presence of timely and effective health care, particularly in people under age 75 years of age. In studies comparing amenable mortality in the U.S. to other countries, America has fallen short in health system performance indicators, such as care outcomes for people with asthma and diabetes. In a study of 19 nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (the OECD), the U.S. scored a 110 compared to France, with the low index of 65...