How can intergrated delivery systems help improve costs
Integrating systems to share medical histories, create interdisciplinary medical teams and update doctors on the latest medical research findings could trim healthcare costs while improving patient care, according to Alain Enthoven, the Marriner S. [ Eccles Professor of Public and Private Management, Emeritus, at the Graduate School of Business.
Proposals to move away from managed care and
encourage consumers to choose the best doctor for their condition would be a mistake, Enthoven said. Instead, he calls for creating integrated-delivery systems, a more encompassing version of managed care, to bring coordinated healthcare to U.S. consumers, who currently spend more than $1.7 trillion each year on healthcare.
"We need systems to ensure that healthcare providers are delivering the best care at the lowest possible cost," said Enthoven, who argues that the safest, most appropriate and most affordable care does not come from patients visiting individual providers.
Instead, he says, efficient integrated healthcare systems generally are found in large multispecialty medical group practices with transparent links to hospitals, labs and pharmacies. These organizations provide complete care—from the doctor's office to the hospital to home care, and everything in between. They often have their own insurance arms and work under contracts in which they agree to deliver comprehensive medical services to consumers for a fixed-dollar amount. Examples of integrated-delivery systems include Kaiser Permanente and the Mayo Clinic.
"It's a complex notion, but one that promises to keep healthcare costs under control while increasing the quality of care for the patient," Enthoven said.
When asked, most doctors say they prefer a system that lets each doctor or small group of doctors work independently in their own offices. The model works against sharing information, best practices or any systemized way to track the overall healthcare activities of a particular patient. ]
There are no new answers.