I am beginning to agree with Berwick that we are looking in all the wrong places for healthcare cost relief. Our politicians seem to focus on a quick fix that can be touted in a media sound bite along the lines of "implementing these changes will save the American taxpayer
Wouldn't it be better to take a longer view and resolve the problems that send a patient to a doctor or a SNF in the first place? If reducing surgical site infections or central line-associated bloodstream infections or ventilator-associated pneumonia will mean fewer trips to a doctor or lower readmission rates at a hospital then those are probably the areas where we should be focusing our collective medical expertise and political clout.
Resolving these medical concerns will take time. The Partnership for Patients is looking at a three-year window to implement process changes that will reduce costs and save lives. That's a long-time in the world of politics, but it's a short time for hospitals to put in place policies that will have such a far reaching effect on healthcare costs.