August 03, 2011
The Cost of Health Care in America
It’s no secret that health care
costs in the United States are significant. Ask anyone who has been to the ER
recently, or someone managing chronic health issues and taking several
different prescription medications. Two recent reports discuss how much Americans
can expect to spend on health care, and how that spend compares with other
report, from The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) Office of the Actuary,
found that “average annual health spending growth (5.8 percent) is anticipated
to outpace average annual growth in the overall economy by 1.1 percentage
points (4.7 percent). By 2020, national health spending is expected to reach
$4.6 trillion and comprise 19.8 percent of GDP.” Those numbers are staggering.
report, from The Commonwealth Fund, examined data from the Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and found that “in 2008, health
care spending in the U.S. reached $7,538 per capita – far more than in any
other country studied and more than double the OECD median of $2,995.”
Looking at these numbers, strides must be made in order to bend the
health care cost curve. In The ABCs of Systemic Healthcare Reform,
Cerner Chairman, CEO and co-founder Neal Patterson laid out a plan for driving
$500 billion in annual savings out of the U.S. health care system. The plan
encompasses the following points:
the current health care system by implementing workflow and EMR systems.
decisions on evidence, not anecdotal
care across the fragmented elements of our current health care system.
- Disrupt the
current cumbersome claim-based transactional system used to pay health care
providers by enabling a modern, streamlined, all-electronic method of health
- Evolve to
a standards-based system of lifetime personal
health records for every American.
innovation must accompany the investment in IT to complete the transformation.
Which point do you think offers the greatest opportunity to impact the
cost of health care in America?