Health care spending in the United States has increased to unprecedented levels, and these costs have broken medical providers’ promise to do no harm. Medical debt is the leading contributor to U.S. personal bankruptcy, more than 50% of household foreclosures are secondary to medical debt and illness, and patients are choosing to avoid necessary care because of its cost. Evidence that the health care delivery model is contributing to patient hardship is a call for action to the profession to transition to a high value model, one that delivers the highest health care quality and safety at the lowest personal and financial cost to patients.
As such, value improvement work is being done at academic medical centers across the country. In order to promote measurable improvements in practice on a national scale, academic institutions need to align efforts and create a new model for collaboration, one that transcends cross-institutional competition, specialty divisions, and geographical constraints. Academic institutions are particularly accountable because of the importance of research and education in driving this transition.
Academic medical centers are now charged to demonstrate accountability for delivering high value health care. This can only be accomplished if unnecessary diagnostic tests and procedures are reduced or eliminated and if quality-driven initiatives are implemented to reduce variability in practice.
Authors: Pamela T. Johnson, MD, Matthew D. Alvin, MD, MBA, MS, MA, and Roy C. Ziegelstein, MD, MACP