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The rate of hospitalization for lung diseases like chronic bronchitis and emphysema in Israel is higher than average compared to the world's developed countries, a new report reveals.

A Health Ministry report presented at a medical conference on Wednesday showed that Israel has 234 hospitalizations due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a collective name for several lung diseases, per 100,000 residents over the age of 15, compared to an average 192 per 100,000 among developed countries in general.

The report was prepared by the ministry for submission to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the association of the world's developed countries to which Israel was admitted as a member last year. There are OECD countries with much higher rates of lung diseases, it should be noted, with Ireland having the highest reported rate - 354 per 100,000 residents.

"Lung disease is treated primarily in the community [rather than through hospitalization], and most hospitalizations can be prevented," said Yael Applebaum, director of the ministry's patient safety department. She cited greater effort to explain to patients how to use inhalers and greater emphasis to encourage people to quit smoking as ways in which hospitalization rates could be reduced.

The hospitalization rate for heart failure is also higher here than the OECD average, but similar to rates in Norway, Australia and New Zealand.

One general conclusion that can be drawn from the report is that respiratory diseases and heart failure are at the top of the list of chronic conditions leading to hospital admission in Israel.

When it comes to serious complications from diabetes, there has been a 29 percent decline over the past decade in hospitalizations here. Israel has relatively few hospital admissions for diabetes complications compared to other OECD countries - seven per 100,000, compared to an average of 50.1 per 100,000. The highest rate is in Austria, at 137.9. The decline in diabetes patients' hospitalization in Israel has been substantial, especially since 2007, and shows that work by the country's health maintenance organizations to improve diabetes treatment is bearing fruit, Applebaum of the Health Ministry said.

Heading off preventable hospitalization requires increased access to health care in the community, continuity of care, and improved communication between doctors and patients and between hospitals and the community, she noted. Applebaum added that improvements also require the addition of new medications to the so-called "basket" of subsidized drugs, as well as more preventative health care at HMOs and a healthier lifestyle among some members of the public. She said there is a chance that environmental factors, such as air pollution, may also increase otherwise preventable hospitalization, although the topic requires further investigation.

Among other data presented at the conference were figures on hospital patient safety, showing, for example, that six of 1,000 patients in Israel develop blood infections (sepsis ) following surgery.

And in four out of 100,000 surgeries a foreign object is left in the patient's body after surgery is finished.

קראו כתבה זו בעברית: ישראל מובילה באשפוזים מיותרים בשל מחלות ריאה ואי ספיקת לב