This report addresses a deceptively simple question: How can the productivity of American health care be substantially improved? Productivity, in lay terms, is the ratio of output to inputs. A more colloquial rendition of the question might be: how can we get a lot more bang for our health care buck?
Kauffman Task Force on Cost-Effective Health Care Innovation
No one doubts that the question needs answering. By general consent, improving the cost-benefit balance in America’s health care is today’s most urgent public policy problem. Costs are rising for
private payers and government (which now accounts for more than half of all health care spending), but health outcomes are not rising at the same rate.Without changes, health costs could stress federal and state governments to the point of near-insolvency as the Baby Boom generation ages and as ever more expensive technology comes online. Health costs also affect jobs because some employers respond to rising costs by not hiring more workers, or at least constraining the take-home pay of those they retain. Patients, meanwhile, negotiate a fragmented, confusing, and sometimes seemingly uncaring system,
a product of accumulated accident and unintended consequences rather than design. Systems built
around the assumptions of the 1950s and 1960s, when general practitioners could cope with most
health needs, and file cabinets and postage stamps were the main methods of storing and transmitting
data, creak and strain in the age of email, the cloud, and increasingly regulatory complexity.