The Healthcare Imperative: Lowering Costs and Improving Outcomes: Brief Summary of a Workshop
National health expenditures are projected to reach more than $2.5 trillion in
2009, and with growth highly likely to continue to surpass rates for inflation (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), 2009), the economic consequences grow increasingly serious for individuals, families and businesses, as well as states and the federal government. While the consumer price index—a measure estimating the average price of consumer goods and services purchased by households—in the United States decreased by 1.5 percent between August 2008 and August 2009, prices for medical services
increased by 3.3% over the same time period (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009). As concerns have increased amidst an economic recession, a dominant theme in the health reform dialogue has been the need to control health care spending. It was in this context that the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Roundtable on Evidence-Based Medicine, with the support of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, hosted the three-part workshop series The Healthcare Imperative: Lowering Costs and Improving Outcomes. This Summary recapitulates the insights and discussions arising during these workshops, which explored the drivers of spending, the promising methods of cost control, and the opportunities and barriers to implementing policies. The motivating goal of the discussion has been to identify ways to reduce healthcare spending
by ten percent from projected expenditures in the United States within the next decade without compromising health status, quality of care or valued innovation.
Part of the National Academies, the IOM has served as the congressionally
chartered adviser to the nation on matters of health and healthcare since its establishment in 1970. With a dedicated commitment to improving the quality of care delivered in the United States, the IOM has conducted a number of highly influential studies—such as To Err is Human (Institute of Medicine (IOM), 2000), Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century (Institute of Medicine [IOM], 2001), and Rewarding Provider erformance: Aligning Incentives in Medicare (Institute of Medicine (IOM),
2007)—which have drawn attention to key shortfalls in the performance of the healthcare
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