Applying The Lessons Learned In Other Industries To Health Care

Margalit Gur-Arie | | May 22, 2014

While grappling with the costs and imperfections of our health care system in recent years, a multitude of experts in the field found it useful and enlightening to compare health care to a variety of more familiar industries, and to suggest that health care should adopt operational models that have been shown to work well in those other industries.

...As many of the lessons learned from these industries are being applied to health care, the results are starting to come in and most are shockingly disappointing. A group of researchers from Stanford University is reporting in the May issue of Health Affairs that “an increase in the market share of hospitals with the tightest vertically integrated relationship with physicians — ownership of physician practices — was associated with higher hospital prices and spending.”  A Harvard University paper in the same issue of Health Affairs is predicting that “ACA reforms could result in an additional 4.4-percentage-point increase in profit margins for hospital-based EDs compared to what could be the case without the reforms.” A very large study in Canada recently published in NEJM, found that “[i]mplementation of surgical safety checklists in Ontario, Canada, was not associated with significant reductions in operative mortality or complications.”  And yet both vertical integration and ACA reforms are continuing at a brisk pace...