The word ‘value’ might be over-hyped and overused, but actions that deliver value never are. Consider: (1) a medically-sound checklist that reduces orders for costly and unnecessary MRIs by up to 27 percent, (2) reduced wait times and increased patient satisfaction with lower costs and speedier care for patients with back pain, (3) avoiding $100 million in capital costs using a computer model, and (4) 157 hospitals reducing costs by $4.5 billion while improving outcomes.
These New York Times June Op-Ed examples are reminders of what’s at stake and what’s possible. However much we may value the current system, it is ripe for change that reduces frustration, inefficiency, and cost. We can create satisfaction and improved outcomes for all involved – patients, caregivers, providers, and health plans. To get there, the pace of change must continue, if not accelerate.
Value most often comes down to treating you better for less, counting both expenses and opportunity costs. We can talk ideologically about health care until the cows come home, or we can set aside rhetoric and consider the value of good health, cost-effective medical care, and responsive, productive service. At that point it often becomes easier to think in terms of fixing the problem and being part of the solution.
Our system is at the pinnacle of spending, but far from peak performance. Bring on the change.