I’ve been tinkering with Google’s Fusion Tables (which are very cool and no relation to our host’s biz), and wondering how best to introduce a chart or two to TBP. BR’s recent post on healthcare gave me the perfect opening.

So, herewith, the first of what I hope will be many Fusion Tables to come (hover over countries for data).

First up, worldwide density of doctors per 10,000 population (these are doctors only; dentists, nurses, and other healthcare professionals are tallied separately). To spare you the trouble of searching, Cuba is #1 at 64, and Greece is #2 at 54; many countries are at one or less.

Source: WHO

Next up, total healthcare expenditures as a percent of GDP. There are additional aspects of this to explore (private expenditures, government expenditures, etc.), but I’ll leave that for another time in the interest of getting the overall picture out.

Source: WHO

You’ll probably not find #1 on the graphic above (at 17.9%), which is the only country ahead of the United States (at 16%). It is Niue, a speck of an island in the South Pacific (east of Fiji) no larger than a pixel or two on your screen.

I love being able to visualize the data via Fusion Tables. The Tables themselves still seem to be a work-in-progress (still in Beta), and there are many improvements I hope Google makes, but its ability to import Excel data and manipulate is great. Which leads to this question: What would folks be interested in seeing via the Fusion Tables — suggestions should be either worldwide (rankings by nation) or specific to the United States (state-by-state). Of course, the data must be readily available and from reputable sources. Throw it in comments and I’ll see what I can do — if there’s one thing this crowd is long it’s imagination.

Category: Current Affairs, Economy

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

24 Responses to “A Bit of Healthcare Chart Porn”

  1. Invictus,

    nice -porn..~

    + , w/this .. “…What would folks be interested in seeing via the Fusion Tables — suggestions should be either worldwide (rankings by nation) or specific to the United States (state-by-state). Of course, the data must be readily available and from reputable sources…”

    try.. Worldwide, by Nation, per capita Total Debt. and, ‘per capita Total Debt/per capita GDP’ ..

    might give some *Insight into why the Euro has, long, been regarded as ‘the Mayo’ ..

  2. tallpaul says:

    I find it more interesting to compare healthcare spend as % of GDP to indicators of the effectiveness of that spending (longevity, infant mortality, etc.). In other words, who cares how many doctors we have running around, how good a job are they and the health care system in general doing?

    While the US spends twice as much on healthcare (as % of an already high per capita GDP) as other “developed” countries, we rank quite low in terms of outcomes.

    This is the truth that we must face: reform of the healthcare system (one way or another) is crucial. People who claim that we have “the best healthcare in the world” are dead wrong, at least on a per capita, ROI basis.

  3. machinehead says:

    What I’m interested in is bank deposits per capita, an index of financial development. Some ‘underbanked’ countries are mainly cash-based. Others (e.g. Switzerland, Singapore) have outsized levels of deposits to population, being regional banking centers.

    Another way to tease out cash-based economies would be M1 money supply per capita. Some populations hold a lot more currency than others. Not included, of course, are holdings of expatriated dollars, euros and the like.

  4. RW says:

    Agree total debt could be interesting but per capita or GDP would be less interesting than, say, total debt compared to national growth rate, unemployment, interest rates, inflation rates, purchasing power, GINI coefficient and so forth. How much leverage is used doubtless matters at some point but how it is used and the patterns revealed in that use seems a more profitable avenue for exploration.

  5. wally says:

    Given the two maps above… is it possible to do a calculation from the two initial sets of data and then show the result (ie: expenditures per capita / doctors per capita = (roughly) expenditures per doctor)?

    Invictus: Possibly, though I’d hasten to add that BR’s recent post touched on where I think you’re going with that line of thinking.

  6. arogersb says:

    a graph of health quality indicators would be nice. Here is a good starting point: http://www.oecd.org/health/hcqi

  7. meyes says:

    I would love to see:

    - Real foreign capital inflows in nominal terms (total dollar change in new foreign capital invested)
    - Percentage change in foreign captial investments by country (how much share of new investment are emerging countries receiving, ideally over 10 x 2 year periods, so we can see the change over 2 decades)
    - Inflation rates – growth rate = net growth rate by country
    - Expenditure on energy as a percentage of gdp (four charts by oil&gas, electricity, renewables, total)
    - Percentage change in national stock market index (where exchanges exist)
    - Defense expenditure as a percentage of gdp

  8. Orange14 says:

    @ Wally, you can get all the data (and much more) here: http://www.oecd.org/document/16/0,3343,en_2649_34631_2085200_1_1_1_1,00.html It’s all downloadable to Excel so you can graph and plot to your heart’s content. Bottom line, US spends the most on healthcare and does not get demonstrably better outcomes than almost all the Eurozone countries. Sad commentary on all the wasted money.

  9. MikeG says:

    Interesting that Niue has high healthcare costs.

    Pacific island populations (Niue, Nauru, Tonga, Micronesia) have the highest obesity rates in the world — said to be caused by the prevalence of imported processed food and a culture associating fatness with attractiveness, prosperity and high status.

    Invictus: Did not know that, and appreciate your pointing it out.

  10. Sammy925 says:

    Great commentary on the absurd US Healthcare system and the amount of wasted spending. BHO’s been saying from the beginning the key to the deficit is reigning in healthcare costs. Not the Boehner approach of threatening the debt limit to hang people out to dry with unreasonable cuts.

    As for my request, it’s ot very economic driven like the other requests or related to healthcare per se, but I’d be interested in seeing by state the # of abortions per capita compared to a red state/blue state chart of the country.

  11. wngoju says:

    I – Thanks!

  12. super_trooper says:

    Nice porn charts
    How about some more penetrating analysis by adressing the growth of the healthcare business over the last 50 years.
    Was it always ~9% of the GDP in OECD countries? And 17% in the US?

  13. scothammer says:

    I’d like to see a GAAP debt by capita. I figure with Bill Gross’s figure of $75 trillion for social security, medicare, etc, plus the cash debt already on the books of $14 trillion (say $15 trillion) to make the numbers easy – US population of 300 million. My calculator comes to $300,000 per capita. Lets see how the world compares to those numbers!!!!!

  14. Fred C Dobbs says:

    The first chart confuses quantity for quality, and the second confuses cost for value. If cost is the best measure of value, then we should go to Niue for our healthcare. If one thinks quantity is where one gets the best healthcare one should get his medical advice in Cuba. But, we know neither is true because Canadian and Italian Prime Ministers, for whom money is no object, leave their wonderful domestic healthcare systems behind, and go to the US for the simplest medical procedures and operations. Would one accused of crime seek out the cheapest lawyer to represent him? Would one in need of medical advice or attention seek out the cheapest? Like statistics, some charts prove nothing, but state mere generalities. As MacBeth said: “it is a tale. …, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.

    Invictus: Please point out where I referenced either quality or value, or their relationships to quantity and cost. Or, really, where I spent much time at all offering my own interpretation of the data. Please be specific. Thanks.

  15. thesweeper says:

    Great info and would like to point out that you have Malaysia labelled as Venezuela. :(

    Invictus: Nice catch, and I noticed that earlier. It’s not me — really it’s not — it’s something in the way Google renders the map. Will have to test it further.

  16. formerlawyer says:

    @ Fred C Dobbs

    When did a Canadian Prime Minister avail himself or herself of American Health Care? I know Sarah Palin did the opposite when she was younger. In any event the plural of example or anectdote is not data. FAIL.

  17. platon20 says:

    Somebody explain to me why Boston/New York/Miami have the highest number of doctors per capita in the world, yet they also have the highest healthcare costs per capita in the world.

    Isnt it a truism of markets that high supply = lower cost?

    ~~~

    BR: Highest income areas, demanding the most expensive discretionary medical services! (Plastic, elective surgery, etc.)

  18. Sechel says:

    I would suggest omitting words like “PORN” from your blog. It’s my guess that the mention of such triggers firewalls that block portions of your site from being viewable at work places.

  19. RW says:

    “Isnt it a truism of markets that high supply = lower cost?”

    Several possible answers but the ones that occur to me first are:
    1) “high supply” is not easily definable WRT medical care; e.g., what speciality is at issue?
    2) those that have the money pay up for what they want when they want it
    3) those that don’t have the money never get treated but are not counted as waiting which gives US medicine a much better reputation in that respect than it deserves
    4) evidence that medical care is a market at all is very mixed; e.g., if you are having a heart attack there are no price signals, no choice and no invisible hand (except in your chest cavity)
    5) after the heart attack the situation does not materially change; the only ‘signal’ is the doctor’s opinion and what the insurance co, hospital and doctors agree to; the invisible hand is not for you.

  20. philipat says:

    As with so many things in the US, this has become beyond rational discussion. I have expressed my views ad nauseum, with the benefit of a long Medical/Healthcare career. I would suggest to stick with the facts. In the US, healthcare costs 17% of GDP, compared to less than half that amount in comparable developed countries.

    Something wrong perhaps?

  21. Chad says:

    RW hits one big point that always gets missed…it is impossible for healthcare to become a free market. The longer it takes us to realize that the more it will cost us.

  22. Gs5575 says:

    It would be nice to have a chart depicting the change in housing values down to the county/parish level if possible. Real Estate is still “local” but most of the data is based on just a few markets.

  23. andrewp111 says:

    How about healthcare expenditure per trial lawyer? I’m sure that will be very telling.

  24. victor says:

    To philipat:

    Just one example from real life: Someone in my immediate family (73) has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma (plasma cells cancer) and has been on kidney dialysis for 3 years now, 3 times/week, 4 hrs each session and various forms of chemotherapy. Doctors say he may go on like this for years just like the late Geraldine Ferraro. The costs to him are minimum, the costs to the providers are some $185,000/year. How can we ever keep a lid on costs with a graying population, obesity, diabetes, street drug use, cigarette smoking etc?