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Home / News & IndustryManaged Care Insight and Analysis
Updated: September 8, 2009
Physicians: "You Can Help Achieve Real Healthcare Reform"

Changing the way healthcare is paid for and delivered could help achieve a "guaranteed" 1.5 percent savings annually in healthcare costs, believe the authors of a perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Entitled Achieving Healthcare Reform- How Physicians Can Help, co-authors Elliot Fisher MD, M.P.H., professor at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Donald M. Berwick, MD, M.P.P., president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund believe physicians, "can and should play a leading role in achieving healthcare reform" by working towards these goals.

The savings over the next 10 years could save an estimated $3.1 trillion for the nation's healthcare system.

To achieve real healthcare reform, voluntary efforts and savings may not be enough, say the authors .

The authors suggest integrated systems of care, innovative payment models, and performance measures that promote care coordination to physicians in order to eliminate unnecessary waste and avoidable complications.

By achieving a 1.5 percent annual savings in healthcare, all Americans could potentially obtain coverage, say the authors. Slowing the growth of healthcare costs by this percentage annually, would allow spending to rise from $2.6 trillion in 2010 to $4.3 trillion in 2020, and save the healthcare system $3.1 trillion of the estimated $40 trillion the United States is projected to spend in that 11-year period.

"U.S. physicians are leaders in providing excellent medical care, and can also be leaders in the effort to achieve a U.S. health system that is also excellent," said Davis. "Physicians can become our most credible and effective leaders of progress toward a new world of coordinated, sensible, outcome-oriented care in which they and their communities will be far better off."

Address: New England Journal of Medicine Editorial Offices, 10 Shattuck Street, Boston, MA 02115; (617) 734-9800, www.content.nejm.org.


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