Monday, September 16, 2013

Quo vaditis?

Resource allocation in health care is a nightmare for any regulator. Since competitive prices are unavailable, payment systems have to be designed in order to achieve a greater efficiency, better quality and access. Two decades ago a chapter in a book on that topic summarized the knowledge and potential applications. The title was: Hospital Groups and Case-Mix Measurement for Resource Allocation and Payment, and the authors: Pere Ibern, James C. Vertrees, Kenneth G. Manton,Max A. Woodbury. This was the result of my stay as a visiting researcher at Duke University, Center for Demographic Studies. I had the unique opportunity to share knowledge with extraordinarily talented people.
For many years, things moved smoothly. A summary of the state of the art in 2007 is provided in a chapter of this book (p.259).
After twenty years, things have changed, quo vaditis payment systems?. Right now we focus on incentives for integrated care, and accordingly payment systems have to follow a different path. Bundled care and episode of care, these are the crucial topics right now.
However, regulator's inertia and risk avoidance are the greatest constraints for change. It is difficult to leave the confort zone. Although we know that current payment systems require a new design, decisions are being delayed. The latest words of Seamus Heaney, recently passed away, fit perfectly as a key message: Noli timere, don't fear.

No comments:

Post a Comment