What We're Reading: Study Confirms US Spending More Than Other Countries on Healthcare

In other news, prostate cancer incidence appears to be on the rise, and data on health trackers may not be secure.

Patients and health plans in the United States are spending far more on healthcare than other developed countries, as a recent report released by the International Federation of Health Plans found that the US costs for prescriptions and common surgeries are higher than in countries around the globe. According to CNBC, a normal delivery of a baby in the US costs 5 times what health insurers pay in Spain and 2 times more what health plans pay in Australia. Researchers scanned nearly 500 million insurance claims from countries like the US, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, and discovered that US buyers consistently paid more for prescription drugs, supporting suggestions that the country could be spending nearly 20% of its overall gross domestic product on healthcare by 2025.

The number of aggressive prostate cancer cases in the United States during the past decade has skyrocketed, a new study finds. Men between the ages of 55 and 69 demonstrated a 92% increase in the number of cases over the last 10 years, and researchers documented a 72% increase overall among all age groups. While researchers suggested in an article with MedlinePlus that the form of cancer may be getting more aggressive, they also noted that the rise is more likely due to the statistic that fewer men are getting screened for the disease.

Fitness trackers and social media sites in which individuals are actively inputting their own health data may not be as secure as consumers might think. HHS recently issued a report to Congress detailing the privacy and security of health data that is collected from organizations or entities that are not regulated by HIPAA. An article published by FierceHealth explained that because these social media sites and fitness tracking systems were created far after HIPAA’s implementation in 1996, there remains large gaps in the way this personal health information is being collected and stored.