George Halvorson, chairman and chief executive officer of Kaiser Permanente, criticized healthcare reform initiatives that focus only on money and not on access and quality of care.
Healthcare reform in America needs to actually reform healthcare, Halvorson told attendees at a health information technology conference today in Washington. Most reform agendas focus exclusively on healthcare financing. (But) reform and financing are not identical.
Halvorson said that to focus on financing is akin to trying to reform the automotive industry by looking only at the car loan sector. It does not improve the engineering, performance, efficiency, qualityor even the car, he added.
Halvorson said that meaningful reform needs to focus on the goal of improvement and that providers need to be given the appropriate tools, such as electronic health records, and an overall push for prevention.
More than 75% of all healthcare costs come from individuals with chronic disease, two-thirds of whom suffer from diabetes, asthma, heart disease and depression, he said. Yet its that patient population that caregivers do the poorest job in treating, he added. The paper record is completely inadequate for care improvement, he said. -- by Matthew DoBias