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American Health Care System Needs New Direction

High performance delivery system will require fundamental change

THURSDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Re-engineering the United States health care system for high performance will require fundamental change, according to reports released online Aug. 7 by The Commonwealth Fund.

Sabrina K.H. How, of The Commonwealth Fund in New York City, and colleagues present the results of a survey of 1,004 American adults, which asked them about their experiences with the health care system, and suggestions of the ways in which it can be improved. Eight out of 10 respondents said that the system required fundamental change or complete rebuilding to ensure timely access, better coordination and better information flow.

Anthony Shih, M.D., and colleagues at The Commonwealth Fund outline policy recommendations to overcome fragmentation in the current U.S. health care system, which rewards expensive medical care over primary care, causes waste and duplication, frustrates patients and puts them at risk, particularly when they seek treatment from more than one health care provider.

"We can no longer afford, nor should we tolerate, the outcomes of our fragmented health care system. We need to move away from a cottage industry, in which providers have no relationship with, or accountability to, one another," the authors write. "Though we acknowledge that creating a more organized delivery system will be difficult, the recommendations put forth in this report offer a concrete approach to stimulate organization for higher performance."

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