A year ago today President Bush signed an executive order, “Promoting Quality and Efficient Health Care in Federal Government Administered or Sponsored Health Care Programs.” Here’s the statement of purpose:
It is the purpose of this order to ensure that health care programs administered or sponsored by the Federal Government promote quality and efficient delivery of health care through the use of health information technology, transparency regarding health care quality and price, and better incentives for program beneficiaries, enrollees, and providers. It is the further purpose of this order to make relevant information available to these beneficiaries, enrollees, and providers in a readily useable manner and in collaboration with similar initiatives in the private sector and non-Federal public sector.
These concepts — transparency (especially in pricing), health IT, incentives — are the foundation of “value-driven health care.”
Getting beyond all the nomenclature and buzzwords, the point is to provide more accessible and usable information, so consumers take control of their own health care. By depending so much on third-party payers, the U.S. system tends to divorce individual decision-making from care and the cost of that care. “Well, you probably don’t need this test, but the insurance will cover it.” “Sign me up!” Value-driven health care attempts to restore an element of cost awareness to the process.
So the principles are sound, and they’re making great headway in the business and manufacturing world. Employers and employees both benefit when people take ownership of their health care (and have information and incentives to take care of themselves, prevention-wise).
Americans deserve to be able to compare the quality and price of health care services available to them. Informed consumers have the power to drive high-quality, efficient care, which can save not only dollars, but lives.
Most Americans receive their health insurance through their employers, placing companies in a powerful position to drive transparency. The Partnership for Value-driven Health Care works to improve health care in America by arming private and public health care purchasers with the tools they need to:
Utilize health information technology, Measure and publish quality information, Measure and publish price information, and Create positive incentives for high-quality, efficient health care
The NAM and its members are excited about moving forward with all these elements. As said, sound principles, all.
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