A Primary Care System to Improve Health Care Efficiency: Lessons from Ecuador

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Ecuador is a country with few resources to spend on health care. Historically, Ecuador has struggled to find a model for health care that is efficient, effective, and available to all people in the country, even those in underserved and rural communities. In 2000, the Ecuador Ministry of Public Health implemented a new system of health care that used primary care as its platform. Since then, Ecuador has been able to increase its health care efficiency, increasing its ranking from 111 of 211 countries worldwide in 2000, to 20 of 211 countries in 2014. This article briefly reviews the new components of the system implemented in Ecuador and examines the tools used to accomplish this. The discussion also compares and contrasts the Ecuador and US systems, and identifies concepts and policies from Ecuador that could improve the US system.

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