Focus

Collaboration to improve the healthcare system because improvement requires it

In order for healthcare systems to improve patient experience and health outcomes and reduce costs, they must transform themselves. Many leading thinkers say that it is only the customers of the healthcare system – the patients and payers - who can truly catalyze change. The people who receive and pay for care have the most at stake. And although many others are working to improve things, too many either profit from the current system or have conflicting interests to be able to drive change fast enough. It is up to us to step up!

 

In 2001, the Institute of Medicine published the ground breaking report Crossing the Quality Chasm.  The difference between what the US healthcare system is capable of delivering for quality care and actually delivers is too big to be called a gap—hence the word "chasm."  Yet even today, the Institute estimates that one-third of hospitalized patients are harmed during their hospital stay, and one-third of healthcare expenditures—over $750 billion per year—do nothing to improve health.

 

Who is to blame for this?  Who can we point fingers at?  In the immortal words of Pogo, “we have met the enemy and they are us.”  We are all responsible for this state of affairs:  those who give care, get care, and pay for care.  And we all have to work together to fix it.

© 2015 by Ted Rooney.

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