Copying what works to reduce healthcare costs

If, as a country, we cared about improving the ratio of quality to costs in our healthcare system, why wouldn’t we:

  • Look for examples of things that already “work”, either in the USA or abroad; and
  • copy them?

In a post yesterday that got me thinking, John Goodman makes the point that:

  • there are real examples out there of individuals who have found ways to dramatically change the cost/quality ratio of healthcare (he gives interesting examples); but that
  • we are not doing a good job of systematically looking for such examples and then trying to replicate and scale them.

It is well worth reading the full article.

While depressing, it makes you realize there are probably some exciting opportunities out there that are not being exploited as yet.

Quality and Customer Satisfaction are different

Nice post today by Jaan Sidorov pointing out the difference between patient satisfaction and medical quality.

Expanding on some earlier themes (here and here), there are at least three important metrics that relate to “quality” of the interactions between the healthcare system and the patient.

  1. Patient satisfaction;
  2. Clinical outcome (best possible, regardless of cost);
  3. Most cost effective outcomes (on a population basis).

It is interesting to think of the different healthcare systems one would get by focusing on optimizing different combinations of these three metrics. I would argue that you can’t have all of them at once.

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