U.S. Doing Poorly with Value-Based Health Care

The U.S. faces obstacles to improve health care value. Right now it is third worst among 12 developed countries for value-based health care

This article published with permission from The Burrill Report.

The United States spends more money on health care than 12 other developed nations examined in a new study, but shows poor performance in implementing value-based care.

The new report from Boston Consulting Group assessed the progress of 12 developed countries attempting to implement value-based health care as a means of controlling rising health care costs. It warns the United States faces significant hurdles if it aims to improve its return on healthcare investment.

The assessment evaluated national health systems using two criteria. The first was the degree to which key elements supportive of value-based health care were in place at the national level. The second was the quality of a country’s existing disease registries, institutions that track selected health outcomes in a population of patients.

Value-based health care has risen to the forefront of many governments’ agendas as health care reform efforts around the world push for more effective and sustainable approaches to reining in the increasing health care costs.

The report highlights Sweden as the most advanced country of the 12 evaluated in terms of implementing value-based healthcare. Singapore, Canada and the United Kingdom all followed. On the opposite end of the spectrum were Germany and Hungary, while the United States ranked third worst among the countries assessed.

The report also found that the fragmented nature of the U.S health care system inhibits collection of national health-outcomes data and standards. It also found clinical outcome metrics differ widely even within the nation itself. The authors of the report suggest that the absence of a national mechanism to compel providers to report outcomes to disease registries is hampering value-based adoption.

Countries at the top of list are succeeding in providing value-based health care because they have common national standards, an information technology infrastructure, the ability to link health outcomes with costs, high engagement on the part of clinicians and policymakers, and strong national disease registries, say the authors.

“We learned that a number of countries have begun to build the infrastructure and processes to support a value-based approach, but some are significantly farther along the learning curve than others,” says Sefan Larsson, a Boston Consulting Group senior partner and co-author of the report.

The challenge for U.S. health care executives and regulators is how to close the gap with the rest of the world.

Copyright 2012 Burrill & Company. For more life sciences news and information, visit www.burrillreport.com.

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