- Our country continues to focus on fiscal maneuvering, which is little more than playing with the numbers to find a short-term fix for escalating insurance costs for certain segments of the population (i.e., the healthy and wealthy) and increased liability for other segments.
- We continually fail to address key underlying problems: We don’t focus adequately on learning how to keep healthy and at-risk people well, and on discovering the safest and most cost-effective ways to treat ill patients. There is not enough investment in gaining and implementing the necessary knowledge through clinical research, evidence-based decision-support, and financial incentives.
I contend that it is impossible for any fiscal policy to improve the healthcare system long-term until we broaden our collective focus and start concentrating on doing what’s necessary to transform the system. This transformation should focus on bringing sustained improvements in healthcare safety, effectiveness, efficiency, affordability, timeliness, and availability – which is how I define high-quality care.
In addition to reforming current economic models, the transforming steps should include:
- Investing heavily in useful clinical outcomes research and evolving evidenced-based care aimed at overcoming the knowledge gap
- Funding the development and implementation of next-generation health information technologies – having advanced decision-support, knowledge generation, and public protection capabilities – which bridge current-day gaps
- Helping people stay healthy longer, recover more quickly, and avoid complications of chronic illness by balancing reactive “sick-care” with proactive well-care
- Increasing healthcare fidelity and collaboration
- Redirecting competition
- Focusing on unversal, consumer-centered, personalized care
- Addressing the mind-body connection
- Understanding and taking advantage of the value of complementary and alternative medicine and human genetics and genomics.