03 Jan Healthcare Delivery, The Key To Lowering Cost
Lowering cost is a critical path forward for many medical organizations with this year’s Annual Health Care CEO Survey citing the need for “preparing the enterprise for sustainable cost control” as well as “innovative approaches to expense reduction” as top goals. The key to cost lowing measures can be found in the healthcare delivery system. Many approaches can help to reduce cost while providing quality care and seeing positive patient outcomes.
Focusing healthcare efforts more on the front end by keeping people healthy through incentive programs, education and instituting an overall mind-shift to preventative practices can lead to better outcomes and lowered costs. Currently, the US spends the majority of healthcare dollars once someone is sick which is driving up cost exponentially.
According to CEO of health insurer Cigna, David Cordani…
The United States is the largest sick care interventionist system in the world. We spend the majority of our money and resources addressing patient healthcare once they're sick. We need to spend some more of our resources keeping people healthy in the first place and identifying patients who are at risk of health events to lower their health risks.
Just because our healthcare system has worked this way for a long time is not an acceptable excuse, neither is the thinking that nothing can be done to change it.
In order to realize these cost savings, it will “require most health systems to rethink how they prioritize, set and embed care standards,” said Steven Berkow, Executive Director, Research at Advisory Board, an Optum, Inc. business.
Another difficulty with curbing the cost of healthcare is through front-line delivery itself. In the United States, there is a disproportionate number of primary care physicians as compared to specialists. If we had more primary care physicians who are equipped with the resources they need to coordinate care the provider’s cost savings would be significant. More importantly, patient outcomes would be dramatically and positively impacted by the early intervention, resulting in better patient care. Better access to health care services has shown to reduce the need for expensive emergency services as well.
Rising cost is not going anywhere, anytime soon – a Health Affairs study “projected national health care spending will grow an average of 5.5% every year through 2026.” What is your organization doing to lower costs through healthcare delivery? Is it enough?
Reducing cost through these shifts may be difficult at first, but if an organization is committed, it can be done. Organizations like Kaiser Permanente have had preventative medicine as a part of their organization from the beginning. However, it has taken time for preventative care to grow into acceptance and to update policies and procedures as well as many other internal workings in order to change their approach.
Making the shift is possible if you have the right team in place to make the transition seamless and effective. They can help you set expectations, gain team buy-in and forge a path forward towards meaningful change.
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