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How to do more, for less

Despite decades of medical advances, there’s a huge disconnect between what medical science knows how to do, and what America’s overly complex health care system actually delivers, according to a new report commissioned by the Institute of Medicine.

The way we teach, deploy and reward doctors just isn’t keeping up with new knowledge, the authors say. As a result, care is more expensive, less efficient and less effective than it could be.

How bad is it?

“The committee calculated that about 30 percent of health spending in 2009 — roughly $750 billion — was wasted on unnecessary services, excessive administrative costs, fraud, and other problems.  Moreover, inefficiencies cause needless suffering.  By one estimate, roughly 75,000 deaths might have been averted in 2005 if every state had delivered care at the quality level of the best performing state.”

Their proposed solutions are laid out in “Best Care at Lower Cost“, which contains what the authors call “the vision for a continuously learning health care system.”

What does that mean? In part, the IOM says, “It will necessitate embracing new technologies to collect and tap clinical data at the point of care, engaging patients and their families as partners, and establishing greater teamwork and transparency within health care organizations.”