Omnex Health Care
Why are you here?
Because you are aware that Health Care delivery systems in the U.S. (and, perhaps, your own facility) are falling behind the developed world in the quality, effectiveness, availability, and cost of care? Because you understand that, at the same time, HC providers, as business enterprises, are being squeezed by rising costs, increasing pressure from payers to control or reduce costs, and the rising population of patients unable to pay for essential care?
In 2000, the World Health Organization (WHO) ranked the U.S. health care system (compared to 191 member nations) as:
Highest in cost, First in responsiveness, 37th in overall performance, and 72nd by overall level of health
And, while there are islands of excellence and demonstrably successful models for improvement, overall the picture has, if anything, worsened in the years since the WHO report was issued.
As evidence of this, a 2008 report by the Commonwealth Fund ranked the United States last in the quality of health care (but still highest in cost) among the 19 compared countries .
According the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), "Between 1940 and 1990, the annual rate of growth in real health spending per capita ranged from 3.6% in the 1960s to 6.5% in the 1990s. Correspondingly, the share of GDP accounted for by health care spending rose from 4.5% in 1940 to 12.2% in 1990...total spending on health is projected to reach $4 trillion, 20% of GDP, by 2015"
In 2005, the last year for which comparative statistics are available, the United States spent $6,697 per person, whereas the next highest spending was in Norway and Switzerland, $4,364 and $4,177, respectively. ( http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/08/healthcarecost/report.html#one )
At the same time, estimates of how much of this cost goes to pay for unnecessary or inappropriate care range as high as 30-40% (The Economist 4/30/2005), or approximately $900 Billion per year.
Effectiveness: Quality & Safety
In 1999, the Institute of Medicine in "To Err is Human, Building a Safer Health System", reported that "between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans die each year from preventable medical errors in hospitals alone. " In 2007 the overall estimate for deaths due to preventable errors in all health care delivery systems exceeded 100,000.
"As medical science and technology have advanced at a rapid pace.the healthcare delivery system has floundered in its ability to provide consistently high-quality care to all Americans (p.2)."
For a more recent overview: "Crossing the Quality Chasm; A New Health System for the 21st Century":