Averting a Crisis in Health-Care Costs by ProQuest


Health-care costs will reach unsustainable levels unless patients, insurers, hospitals, public officials, doctors, and other practitioners learn to act more collaboratively, warns the Iowa Committee for Value in Healthcare. The committee, a group of health advisers, practitioners, and patient advocates, notes that US health-insurance premiums have gone up 120% since 1999. Furthermore, the US devotes a greater percentage of its economy to health care than the average for developed nations. In July, the committee identified five principles for sustainable health care, all tried successfully in Iowa. These are: 1. fiscal sustainability, 2. innovation through collaboration, 3. primary-care transformation, 4. societal commitment to prevention and wellness, and 5. engaged and responsible health-care consumers.

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									                                                                                          hospitals, and consumers groups,
    W o r l d      T r e n d s         &       F o r e c a s t s                          convene locally on a regular basis
                                                                                          and discuss issues in health practice.
                                                                                            “If providers spent more of their

                                                                                          time informing patients of the vari-
                                                                                          ous options available to them, con-
                                                                                          sumers could make the best deci-
                                                                                          sions for them,” says Sara Imhof,
                                                                                          committee member and regional di-
                                                                                          rector for the health-care reform
Averting a Crisis in Health-Care Costs                                                    group Concord Coalition.
Communication and collaboration are key to efficient care.                                  The key is to provide not just more
                                                                                          care, but more value-conscious care,

                                                                                          according to Imhof.
       ealth-care costs will reach un-             A hospital in Pella, Iowa, used this     “Looking at value is key — looking
       sustainable levels unless pa-             principle to reduce traffic in and out   at the entire medical experience
       tients, insurers, hospitals, pub-         of its emergency room. In 2002, at the   rather than piecemeal episodes, and
lic officials, doctors, and other                suggestion of an advisory commit-        paying for the best possible out-
practitioners learn to act more col-             tee, the hospital opened a 24-hour       comes overall,” she says.
laboratively, warns the Iowa Com-                clinic to meet more nonemergency                                — Rick Docksai
mittee for Value in Healthcare.                  needs after normal business hours.
   The committee, a group of health                3. Primary-care transformation.        Sources: Thom Evans, Iowa Health Care
advisers, practitioners, and patient             Primary-care doctors, nurses, and as-    Collaborative, www.ihconline.org.
                                                                                             Sarah Imhof, Concord Coalition, www
advocates, notes that U.S. health-               sistants would take up a larger role.    .concordcoalition.org.
insurance premiums have gone up                     Starting in 2007, Iowa health prac-      Commonwealth Fund, www.commonwealth
120% since 1999. Furthermore, the                titioners started new training pro-      fund.org.
United States devotes a greater per-             grams to teach physicians the “medi-
centage of its economy to health care            cal home model,” by which
than the average for developed na-               primary-care physicians follow pa-
tions.                                           tients more intensively. Physicians             Listen to
   “We have to be more structured in             deploy registries that track patients,
o u r h e a l t h - c a re s ys tem ,” s ays     their health indicators, and any prog-      WorldFuture 2009!
Thomas Evans, committee member                   ress. They also follow up with all pa-
and president of the Iowa Health                 tients every few months and regu-            T
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