Reversing the Quality Trend: Why Aren’t We Better?

Monday, June 28th, 2010
This post was written by Patricia Donovan

Three years after the last Commonwealth Fund international health system comparison, the news hasn’t changed much. Even with one more country — the Netherlands — added to the mix, the U.S. healthcare system still ranks last in six key performance areas. A featured story in this week’s Healthcare Business Weekly Update, the report highlights glaring inefficiencies in a system that spent nearly twice as much per capita — $7,290 — on healthcare in 2007 as did the first-ranked Netherlands healthcare system.

This year, the U.S. once again placed last when it comes to providing safe care, and next to last on coordinated care. Happily, there are some movements on the horizon to reverse these trends. This week we profile Kaiser’s Safe Transitions program that is reducing medication-related adverse events in the payor’s skilled nursing facility population.

You’ll also read about a NJ-based collaborative of 50 healthcare organizations doing its part to improve system efficiency by reducing hospitalizations and readmissions among patients with heart failure. The CDC estimates that heart failure will cost the United States $39.2 billion in 2010 — in healthcare services, medications, and lost productivity.

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