New IOM Report Details Shortcomings of the U.S. Healthcare System

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In a new report released today, "Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America," the Institute of Medicine points to the numerous shortcomings of the U.S. healthcare system. As the report notes, "Healthcare in America has experienced an explosion in knowledge, innovation and capacity to manage previously fatal conditions. Yet, paradoxically, it falls short on such fundamentals as quality, outcomes, cost and equity. Each action that could improve quality—developing knowledge, translating new information into medical evidence, applying the new evidence to patient care—is marred by significant shortcomings and inefficiencies that result in missed opportunities, waste, and harm to patients."

In response to widespread demand for an improved healthcare system, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) convened a committee to explore healthcare challenges and to recommend ways to create a continuously learning health care system. Its work was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Blue Shield of California Foundation, and the Charina Endowment Fund.

The new report builds on landmark IOM reports published in the past two decades, including "To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System, Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st century," and "Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care."

The report continues, "The full extent of these shortcomings is visible when considering how other industries routinely operate compared with many aspects of healthcare. Builders rely on blueprints to coordinate the work of carpenters, electricians, and plumbers. Banks offer customers financial records that are updated in real time. Automobile manufacturers produce thousands of vehicles that are standardized at their core, while tailored at the margins. While healthcare must accommodate many competing priorities and human factors unlike those in other industries, the healthcare system could learn from these industries how to better meet specific needs, expand choices, and shave costs. Americans would be better served by a more nimble healthcare system that is consistently reliable and that constantly, systematically, and seamlessly improves. In short, the country needs healthcare that learns by avoiding past mistakes and adopting newfound successes."

To access the report, "Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America," CLICK HERE.

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