According to a recent PBS report based on information from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United States spends greater than two-and-a-half times the amount that any of the most developed nations around the globe spend on health care and one-and-one-half times as much as the next-highest-spending nation (Netherlands). Depending on which report you read, our health care expenditures account for between 17.6% and 17.9% of our nation's gross domestic product (GDP). In contrast to our health care expenditures, the Commonwealth Fund's 2011 comprehensive assessments of U.S. population health and health care quality, access, efficiency, and equity show the United States scoring 64, with benchmark performance at 100, across 42 performance indicators.
Let me elaborate with examples of some of the challenges we face:
The cost of health care, access to health care, and the quality of health care impact all of us in the United States. And the cumulative impact of cost and quality affects economic growth, jobs, and the competitiveness of the United States. The White House Council of Economic Advisers has undertaken a comprehensive analysis of the current economic impacts of health care costs in the United States. Some of the findings include the following:
There have been many studies of the impact of poor quality on the cost of health care in the United States. A few examples from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' March 2011 Report to Congress on the National Strategy for Quality Improvement in Health Care illustrate the point:
I believe—and an independent study has now documented—that use of the Baldrige Health Care Criteria for Performance Excellence has a direct impact on both reducing health care costs and improving quality. The study was completed by Thomson Reuters in October 2011. Key findings include the following:
Given the benefits that use of the Baldrige framework for performance excellence can offer, two recent studies have looked at the adoption of this framework and related practices in health care. The first study looked at the current adoption of Baldrige practices. The study conducted by Truven Health Analytics (formerly known as the health care business of Thomson Reuters) was completed in October 2012. This study was based on Truven's annual survey to understand the practices and strategies of CEOs of Truven's designated 100 Top Hospitals. Key findings of that study include the following:
The second study posed questions specifically about the use of the Baldrige Health Care Criteria. This study was based on a survey of CEO members of the American College of Health Care Executives and senior, provider-based members of the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development, as part of Futurescan 2013. Key findings include these:
In 1995 when the Baldrige Criteria were being piloted in health care, there was a significant discrepancy between the performance of health care organizations using Baldrige and leading-edge for-profit service companies applying for the Baldrige Award. This difference is demonstrated by Baldrige award applicant scoring profiles, as shown in Figure 1. The weight of evidence in the studies described above and these Baldrige scoring data, I believe, validate several Baldrige premises. First, that a similar set of criteria can guide improvement and recognize excellence across industry and nonprofit sectors. Second, that best-practice sharing can be beneficial across sectors. Finally, and most important, that wide adoption of the Baldrige Criteria by health care organizations can improve U.S. health care quality, reduce costs, benefit all of us, and finally impact competitiveness and GDP. For more information and data on the use of Baldrige in health care, please read some of our available resources.
Now that you have the evidence, please join us in spreading the word about the benefits of Baldrige in improving health care quality, reducing costs, and improving U.S. competitiveness as an outcome.
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