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QUALITY/POLICY: Information Therapy conference, the employer coalition view

So as I warned you, I’m at the Information Therapy conference in Park City, Utah.

Andrew Webber from National Business Coalition on Health. Tries to come at Information Therapy from the point of view of an employer—but an employer who was brought up as the son of a Minister living in Spanish Harlem.

Employers are figuring it out….he thinks they can improve quality while controlling costs, and do it by making the health care system more functional. Andrew thinks that employers really want a more productive healthier workforce. He thinks that there should be metrics for how Wall Street looks at individual companies on the health/productivity issue. So we need better stories to get employers to realize that they need to get on board with improving this.

But overall employers want to point at providers and call it their fault! (for a bunch of reasons). But he thinks that employers can do better and they’ve been a big part of the problem. Employers have created a toxic payment system, that pays for poor quality of care.

Andrew wants employers to take responsibility for it! Their vision is health purchasing reform via value-based purchasing community by community.

His 4 pillars (of wisdom) are

1. Performance measurements2. Transparency and reporting3. Payment reform (he wants population-based not a fragmented FFS-based payment)4. Informed consumer choice

But you all know that, so let me show you a photo I took in a slot canyon in Arizona yesterday (taken on my Treo no less!)

Photo_092406_010

Meanwhile, Andrew thinks that this is all wrapped up in the change of Federal incentives (and the recent directive) to do more transparency and get consumer purchasing on the national radar.

Personally I get very nervous when Information Therapy gets wrapped up in the ideology of consumer-directed health care. Somehow he manages to think that what HHS and Leavitt is up to and what RWJ is supporting are consistent with each other! But he does make the reasonable point that Ix needs to somehow connect with the wider movements. I just hope it gets done as a neutral issue without getting into a real war over the ideology. If Ix gets wrapped up in that it will be shot in the crossfire.

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