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Value is key to the health care discussion

"You get out what you put in."

At one point or another, you've heard this phrase. Your parents taught it, your teachers lectured it or perhaps your coach shouted it from the sideline to remind you that there's a simple equation in life: The quality of your outcomes will be dictated by the effort you put in.

In health care, many wonder if this equation still applies.

There is no shortage of effort being directed into the health care system today. As a nation, we spend nearly twice as much, per-capita, on health care than any other country. Medical journals and health marketers serve as constant reminders of America's capacity to innovate and develop a vast array of cutting-edge health care technology and medicines.

If we got out what we put in, the expectation is that we would be leading the way in health care outcomes — or, at the very least, be in the top five. Instead, we continue to see our costs spiral up while our system flounders at 37th in the world in health outcomes.

Organizations across the country are focused on developing strategies to identify and reward value in health care. A fundamental first step in finding a solution: We cannot reward value unless we collectively come to an understanding on how we define and measure it.

One common definition for value is quality divided by the dollars we spend. If we improve quality, lower the cost, or a combination of both of those actions, naturally the value increases. Throughout Colorado, individuals and organizations work hard to achieve value by finding better ways to measure quality, meet consumer expectations and capture the cost of health services. We all recognize that efforts are required across the entire continuum of care — rather than at a single point — reflecting the need for a system-wide approach to achieve value in our health care system.

Striving for improved value just might be the one goal that unites all parties in the health care system. But it will take a coordinated effort from key stakeholders across the system to bring about change. On Wednesday, July 27th at the 2011 Colorado Health Symposium, I will facilitate a discussion with leaders from across Colorado who will give their perspectives on defining value and the steps we can take to reward it.

The thought leaders on the panel include:

  • Sue Birch, executive director, Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing
  • Tom Dameron, president and general manager, CIGNA HealthCare
  • Dave Downs, MD, medical director, Engaged Public
  • Mark Laitos, MD, immediate past president, Colorado Medical Society
  • Annette Quintana, CEO, Istonish Inc.

These talented leaders will provide consumer, business, provider and policymaker perspectives while tying in numerous efforts at achieving value in health care across Colorado. The session is structured to poll the audience on its perspectives and engage in a wide-ranging conversation on what value means to all stakeholders and how we best achieve those important goals.

Learn more about the 2011 Colorado Health Symposium >>

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Elderly Alerts
If we improve quality, lower the cost, or a combination of both of those actions, naturally the value increases.
1/5/2012 10:04:00 AM

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