Saturday, September 8, 2012

IOM Releases Report

Healthcare has experienced an explosion in knowledge, innovation, and the capacity to manage previously fatal conditions. Yet, the U.S. healthcare system falls short on such fundamentals as quality, outcomes, cost, and equity.

In response to widespread demand for an improved healthcare system, IOM convened a committee to explore healthcare challenges and to make recommendations on how to create a continuously learning healthcare system. The committee calculated that about 30 percent of health spending in 2009 was roughly $750 billion was wasted on unnecessary services, excessive administrative costs, fraud, and other problems.

As a result of the committee’s in-depth discussions, the Institute of Medicine on September 6th, released the report “Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America” at a briefing at the National Press Club. The report explores the innovative opportunities for emerging technology and science to address the fundamental challenge to get better value from our healthcare.

Opening the briefing, Harvey Fineberg M.D., PhD, President of the Institute of Medicine commented how the report demonstrates how a healthcare system that delivers the best care at lower cost is not only necessary but also possible.

“The threats to Americans health and economic security are clear and compelling, and it’s time to get all hands on deck said,” Mark Smith MD, Committee Chair and President and CEO, California HealthCare Foundation.

“Our healthcare system lags in its ability to adapt, affordably meet patients’ needs, and consistently to achieve better outcomes. However, we have the know-how and technology to make substantial improvement on costs and quality. The Committee’s report offers the vision and road map to create a learning healthcare system that will provide higher quality and greater value.”

 The report emphasizes that to deliver reliable clinical knowledge to patients, the healthcare system needs to have vast computational power and sophisticated information technology to become affordable and widely available and at the same time, the data needs to be accessible in real-time and virtually anywhere the data is needed.

The report also points out that mobile technologies and EHRs offer significant potential to capture and share health data better. The ONC, IT developers, and standard-setting organizations should ensure that these systems are robust and interoperable.

The report gives advice to digital technology developers to deliver the data to produce more knowledge by developing partnerships with not only patients but insurers, researchers, and other stakeholders, by producing specific knowledge for different diseases and conditions, developing tools to help individuals manage their healthcare, and to keep working to achieve interoperability.

A panel discussion with members of the committee included Gail Cassell PhD, Former VP of Scientific Affairs, Eli Lilly and Company and Former President, of the American Society for Microbiology, T. Bruce Ferguson, Jr., MD, Chairman, Department of Cardiovascular Sciences at East Carolina University, Craig Jones MD, Director Vermont Blueprint for Health, Rita Redberg, MD, Professor of Medicine, UCSF and Editor of Archives of Internal Medicine.

The committee’s work was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Blue Shield of California Foundation, and the Charina Endowment Fund.

For information on the report, go to