Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Trimming US Health Care Spending Will Require New Approaches, Study Finds

Date:
November 11, 2009
Source:
RAND Corporation
Summary:
Slowing the growth in US health-care spending may be possible, but it will require adoption of an array of strategies as well as an improved approach to moving promising strategies into widespread use, according to a new study.

Slowing the growth in U.S. health care spending will most likely require adoption of an array of strategies as well as an improved approach to moving promising strategies into widespread use, according to a new analysis by the RAND Corporation.

Related Articles


The most-promising option for curbing health care spending is changing the way doctors and hospitals are paid to provide care, but implementing such a system must overcome significant obstacles in order to be successful, according to the study published online by the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers say other promising approaches to slow health care spending include adoption of electronic health records, programs to better-manage chronic diseases, strengthening patients' use of primary care and encouraging wider use of lower-cost providers such as nurse practitioners and settings such as retail health clinics.

"Our analysis shows it is possible to reduce spending on health care services, but there are many barriers that first must be overcome," said Elizabeth McGlynn, a study co-author and associate director of RAND Health. "The nation's health care system needs to improve its ability to evaluate and adopt promising cost-saving strategies in the future."

The study will be published in the Nov. 26 print edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. RAND is a nonprofit research organization.

While slowing rising health care costs has not been a major focus of the ongoing national debate about health care reform, researchers say that finding ways to trim spending is one key to financing programs intended to expand coverage to more Americans.

While there is no widely accepted target for reducing health care spending, RAND researchers decided to see whether promising strategies could slow health care spending enough to bring it in line with the growth seen in the nation's gross domestic product. If such a change could be accomplished, it would allow health care spending to become a fixed portion of the nation's economic output.

RAND researchers reviewed a wide range of research about possible health care cost controls that could target spending in both the private and public sectors.

RAND researchers identified eight options that evidence suggests have the potential to reduce spending and are broadly applicable across the United States. They calculated both a high and a low estimate of the potential savings each strategy might produce over the next 10 years.

"If our optimistic estimates prove true, then health care spending can be slowed substantially," said Peter Hussey, the study's lead author and a policy researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "But our lower-bound estimates are far more pessimistic, showing how much uncertainty there is about these approaches."

By far the single most promising approach is bundling payments for medical care, according to researchers.

Under such an approach, doctors, hospitals and other health providers would receive one set fee for treating all aspects of a procedure such as a hip replacement surgery or a chronic disease such as diabetes. Advocates say such an approach would encourage health providers to eliminate unnecessary care and improve quality in order to get and keep patients healthy.

A similar approach is used by Medicare to pay for hospital care. But simply expanding the approach to pre-admission and post-discharge care for the four major conditions and procedures examined would produce only a small decrease in health spending, according to RAND researchers.

In order to achieve substantial new cost reductions, the payment approach needs to be applied to payments for the treatment of six common chronic diseases, according to the study. Some models of doing so are under development, but they have not yet been tried on a large scale, according to researchers.

Other authors of the study are Christine Eibner and Susan Ridgley.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by RAND Corporation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

RAND Corporation. "Trimming US Health Care Spending Will Require New Approaches, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091111200215.htm>.
RAND Corporation. (2009, November 11). Trimming US Health Care Spending Will Require New Approaches, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091111200215.htm
RAND Corporation. "Trimming US Health Care Spending Will Require New Approaches, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091111200215.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The MelaFind device is a pain-free way to check suspicious moles for melanoma, without the need for a biopsy. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Battling Multiple Myeloma

Battling Multiple Myeloma

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The answer isn’t always found in new drugs – repurposing an ‘old’ drug that could mean better multiple myeloma treatment, and hope. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) New information that is linking chronic inflammation in the prostate and prostate cancer, which may help doctors and patients prevent cancer in the future. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) Blood transfusions are proving crucial to young sickle cell patients by helping prevent strokes, even when there is no outward sign of brain injury. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins