For a patient with diabetes, high-quality care involves regularly monitoring his condition, coordinating the care he receives from his various health care providers, and working with him to ensure that he can keep his diabetes under control – whether that means buying healthier foods or taking the right medication at the right time.
Yet in the current health care system, his health care providers only get paid based on the quantity of services they deliver, not whether their care addressed his needs. His local hospital will get paid if he gets sick enough to require hospitalization, but not if he stays healthy. His doctors don’t get paid for making sure all his providers are on the same page, or for helping to keep his diabetes under control so he needs fewer appointments.
The result is that under the current system, there is no incentive to address the underlying causes that contribute to disease.
We need a health care delivery system that instead focuses on patient outcomes and rewards providers who can keep patients healthy or help them manage chronic conditions.
Achieving that requires better data. It’s impossible to track and improve what you don’t measure.
It also requires a fundamental shift in the way health care is financed and delivered, from a system that pays for each service or visit, to one that rewards health care providers based on patient outcomes.
What we’d like to see:
- A health care system in which data about patients’ race, ethnicity, and language preference are collected as readily as their medical history
- A functional and widely adopted method for exchanging health information electronically, so patients and providers can securely share vital medical information
- A payment system that rewards health care providers for meeting health equity quality measures