January 16, 2009 By News Report
Health care information technology; comparative effectiveness; coordination of care; and consumerism provide the opportunity to achieve a $530 billion savings opportunity based on a $220 billion upfront investment over three years.
As the White House changes guard next week, a new series of reports released today by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions identifies $530 billion in opportunities to reduce costs while improving the U.S. health care system over the next 10 years.
"Against the backdrop of a national financial crisis and fierce competition for shrinking federal funds, transforming the health care system to address major cost, quality and access issues has never been more imperative," said Paul Keckley, Ph.D., executive director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. "As unemployment rolls increase leading to an upturn in the uninsured, our analysis demonstrates encouraging potential for the new administration to make a significant impact on improving both the cost and quality of health care."
The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, part of Deloitte LLP, reports provide a comprehensive understanding of what consumers want and need in their medical care, providing two important perspectives. The first, "Health Care and Public Policy: What Americans Want," offers results from a survey of 4,000 U.S. adults about their opinions of key health care reform efforts. Americans across the demographic spectrum embrace the gravity of the situation. A vast majority of respondents say they are ill-equipped to handle the financial burdens of a serious medical emergency -- only 6 percent describe themselves as fully ready for such a contingency, and less than 25 percent overall believe that their financial preparation is adequate. Families increasingly are so beset by medical costs that they have less to spend on other essentials. Many are falling behind in their medical payments; 84 percent of respondents believe that the economic challenges will now make it even harder for people to pay their medical bills.
The second report, "Reducing Costs While Improving Care in the U.S. Health System: The Health Reform Pyramid,"outlines the impact on investment and potential savings that might be realized by key reforms based on four interdependent areas of focus: health care information technology; comparative effectiveness; coordination of care; and consumerism. Taken together, these four areas provide the opportunity to achieve a $530 billion savings opportunity based on a $220 billion upfront investment over three years, with net savings realized beginning in year six. Thereafter, compound annual growth rate health costs may decline to 4 percent if implementation of the plan proceeds without delay, with adequate investment and proper oversight.
Additional findings from the Deloitte reports found:
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.