U.S. health care system needs reform now, says expert panel

New IOM report cites 75,000 unnecessary deaths, $750 billion wasted

Problems in the U.S. health care system pose a serious threat to Americans’ health and economic security, according to a report by the Institute of Medicine issued September 6, 2012. The authors state that the system’s top two difficulties are the “increasingly unmanageable complexity of the science of health care,” and the “ever-escalating cost of care,” and compared health care with other industries. For example:

“If banking were like health care, automated teller machine (ATM) transactions would take not seconds but perhaps days or longer as a result of unavailable or misplaced records.”

The report offers a roadmap toward improving quality and cost-effectiveness, with recommendations including greater transparency in the price of health care services.

James Conway, adjunct lecturer on health care management at Harvard School of Public Health, who served on the panel that authored the report, told MSNBC, “What I am seeing around the country is that people are absolutely committed to reform.” He added, “Whether you look at the Republican platform or the Democratic platform, you find in pretty strong language the importance of developing a high quality health care system.”

Read IOM report

Read MSNBC article and Boston Globe article

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Department of Health Policy and Management