I was in a meeting yesterday and one of my colleagues said that he was asked in a recent survey by the American Hospital Association as to what keeps him up at night. He said that he gave the standard answers such as: surviving health care reform, transitioning from volume to value, aligning physician incentives, medical malpractice and population health. He told the AHA that he would also like to know what the business community thinks about health care. He said that is one group whose input we need as we plan for the future.
A few hours later, I received a report from AHA that was published by the US Chamber of Commerce entitled, "Health Care Solutions from America's Business Community: The Path Forward for US Health Reform.” How timely? Ask and you shall receive. So, after reading the report I sent it to him and he was grateful.
In reading the report, it contains an interesting perspective. On the positive side, according to the report, health care has tremendous medical innovation, cutting-edge technology and drugs, and world-leading medical institutions. On the negative side, there is tremendous variation in quality, cost and access to care as well as the growing burden of preventable chronic diseases. In addition, reforms are needed for better health for Americans.
In their report, they also gave us solutions which included: better communication between and among providers, defining quality in simple and clear terms, removing barriers to information on quality and cost, encouraging consumers to use this information to make health care decisions, protecting the ability to buy affordable care and applying lessons from the private sector on employee-sponsored programs to Medicare and Medicaid.
Actually, the report contained good advice and it is nice to see that WMHS has been successfully addressing for the last two years the various issues, along with implementing population health initiatives and pursuing ways to better address chronic diseases in our patients. Through the President's Clinical Quality Council, we are also seeing some success with communications between providers, simplifying the information that we share, and transparency in quality and cost information. Issues such as protecting affordable care, along with applying lessons learned from the private sector, rest with our policymakers in Washington DC and Annapolis, MD. All in all, the information was useful and a good benchmark for WMHS to measure itself against.