Markets offer examples to improve costs, quality

In a New York Times op-ed, Atul Gawande, Donald Berwick, Elliott Fisher and Mark McClellan discuss a recent meeting of doctors and leaders from 10 U.S. regions that are providing high-quality care for lower costs.

“Our criteria were simple: find regions with per capita Medicare costs that are low or markedly declining in rank and where federal measures of quality are above average.”

They found a number of idea that could be applied nationally to reduce health care costs and improve the quality of care, including:

  • using electronic systems to improve communication among physicians
  • investigating the overuse of CAT scans
  • tracking measures of quality and meeting cost-reduction goals
  • merging two underutilized hospitals
  • adopting electronic systems for patient data

The writers say that, in these more efficient areas, “neither the physicians nor the citizens reported feeling that care is ‘rationed.'”

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