Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office released its report on the Obama health plan:
Claiming back some of the rewards given to doctors for improving productivity could save the government Medicare program up to $201 billion over the next 10 years, a congressional analysis showed on Thursday.
The move, which could pressure healthcare providers to find new ways to improve productivity, would produce greater savings than adopting medical information technology, as advocated by President-elect Barack Obama, or capping medical lawsuit awards, as favored by some Republicans, the study showed.
The productivity option was one of 115 examined by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office in its 235-page “Budget Options, Volume 1: Health Care,” released on Thursday. The CBO does not offer recommendations.
Better record keeping and a move to pay-for-performance could result in increased savings. Improved productivity seems like the obvious choice, but at least we are talking about it. Could this finally be the beginning of a true Health IT push? What is interesting here from a social media perspective is what you can find on the CBO Director’s Blog:
Serious concerns exist about the efficiency of the health care system, but no simple solutions are available to reduce the level or control the growth of health care costs. Steps to restructure the insurance market and to encourage people to purchase less extensive coverage could reduce the use of treatments that provide minimal benefits, but enrollees would face higher cost sharing or tighter management of their care.
Other approaches—such as the wider adoption of health information technology or greater use of preventive medical care—could improve people’s health but would probably generate either modest reductions in the overall costs of health care or increases in such spending within a 10-year budgetary window.
That sounds like good news for HIT and for patient safety. The “serious concerns” statement should make us all sit-up and take notice. I beileve it is time for our indusitry to recognize the need for change on a broad scale and start to work on solutions from within the industry. While I’m optimistic about Federal reform, I’m just not 100% confident that more governement intervention is really in the best intrest of our industry in the long run.