Iowa Committee Makes Recommendations to Increase Value in Health Care.

We all know that innovations that do not add value,  are really not innovations after all.

With that in mind, a report was issued earlier this week by the Iowa Committee for Value in Healthcare. It outlined five key principles that its members agree make for high-value, fiscally responsible health care. Its members think Congress and the Obama administration should keep these five principals in mind as they continue discussions over national healthcare reform.

Here are the five principles:

Principle No. 1: Achieve fiscal sustainability through high-value care. Without explicitly addressing how to lower costs and increase value in the system, reform proposals will be useless as health care consumes ever more resources in our nation’s economy. To that end, the committee says that hospitals and other health care institutions use “lean” performance improvement models that have traditionally been used in other fields.

Principle No. 2: Innovate through collaboration. The committee notes that the future of health care will rely more than ever on innovation and suggests that innovation is routinely achieved when key stakeholders (patients, providers, government and private organizations that finance health care) enter into formal and informal collaborations.

Principle No. 3: Expand the role of primary care. The committee says that the role of primary care should be expanded to provide comprehensive well-care and offer prevention programs to individual patients. It also should support health management so individuals can increase the value they receive from acute-care specialty services and long-term care services.

Principle No. 4: Increase wellness and prevention. The committee maintains that wellness and prevention efforts are critical ingredients in a high-value health care system, particularly with respect to chronic conditions. They say that, over the long term, targeted wellness and prevention activities may offer a better use of limited financial resources, in addition to improving health status.

Principle No. 5: Promote individual involvement in obtaining high-value care. The committee determined that reform initiatives should engage all of the individuals who use health care, and specifically encourage individuals to choose high-value care. They noted that value increases as individuals increase their involvement in health promotion and prevention and take greater responsibility for managing their own treatment plans.

The committee was formed by The Concord Coalition in partnership with the University of Iowa College of Public Health and the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative, and its report was sent to President Obama, members of the Iowa congressional delegation, and other key policymakers to consider as they continue to discuss directions for reform.

The is no doubt that these principles can serve well as guidelines for an improved national health care system that promotes long-term sustainability. Unfortunately, what Congress and the Obama administration seem focused on at this point is health insurance reform rather than health care reform.

To view the report “Value in Health Care: Principles for Reform” visit: http://www.concordcoalition.org/act/fiscal-stewardship-committees/iowa-committee-value-health-care

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