Insights · July 7th, 2011
Early this year 1200 people crowded a ballroom in Singapore to begin the first ever conference in Asia on the subject of integrated health care. Here in the U.S. we tend to think that others have solved the health care challenges of the future. It is true that most other developed countries reached agreement on which model they would use for health care payments. Here in the U.S. the health care bill of 2010 attempts to nudge the U.S. toward a more cohesive system that covers more people. But innovations in health care payment do not really do all that much to bring down the growth curve of future health care costs. The secret to doing that lies in developing better care models, like integrated care, more innovation in health care delivery, much better focus on healthy life styles, and breakthroughs that dramatically impact chronic diseases that are associated with high costs.
In the Singapore conference several key lessons were highlighted. You can read about them in greater depth here. When you look at the list, I am sure you will be struck, as I was, by the similarity of global concerns to what we fret about here in the states. The lessons from Singapore:
hand-off between care providers tends to be the most vulnerable moment for patients.
effective tools for improving care integration and outcomes.
developed world faces rapidly aging populations, and the developing world sees people living much
longer as well.
The bottom line, as I tell the health care related groups that I work with, is that the real work of improving health care and controlling the cost is just beginning, and goes well beyond the insurance issues that continue to be the focus of health care reform as we usually think of it.