The Heavy Lifting of Health Reform
There's no way to cut spending in American health care without re-engineering how care is delivered. This is the heavy lifting of health reform that we haven't heard much about -- that is, re-imagining how health care can be delivered based on a strong foundation of primary care where every American has a medical home. From there, a person's continuum of care can be managed to exploit the most effective and most appropriate services for their case at the right time in the right place.
The approach is bolstered through electronic health records that store data and allow a patient's information to freely flow where care decisions are being made. This is the concept of data liquidity: digital health information that is based on standards that allow the bits and bytes to move where they need to for enhanced clinical decision-making. Over time, as many patients' data are aggregated in EHRs, evidence mounts that separate clinical wheat from chaff -- and then trustworthy cost-effectiveness decisions can be made that prevent costly, non-productive services and products to be used.
This is anathema to certain special interests: namely, specialty physicians and life sciences companies, who fear "rationing" or "rationalizing" services and products under a primary-care led system. The latest ad campaigns from every stakeholder association has begun to fracture health alliances as they have done whenever Congress gets down to the serious business of health reform.
The financial give-backs promised by hospitals, health plans and pharmaceutical companies are one-time spends which don't do much to change health delivery in favor of rewarding the best providers, products and services. That will require re-engineering -- true re-imagination of how great health care delivery could be in America.
July 20, 2009; 11:20 AM ET
Health Care Reform
Save & Share:
Previous: 'Bad Policy Any Way You Look At It' | Next: One Small Step/One Giant Leap
Posted by: lensch | July 22, 2009 3:31 PM
Report Offensive Comment
The comments to this entry are closed.