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Innovation is Alive and Well in Health Care
CNBC.com | October 31, 2011 | 03:12 PM EDT

It has been well-documented that America’s unparalleled health care spending has not led to better health outcomes than most other nations. This has led to calls for swift and powerful reform, but political gridlock has bred a growing pessimism among those who believed legislative action would be the only way forward.

However, there is indeed another way forward, and the good news is that we won’t have to depend on government intervention to fix the system — or worry about the government making things worse if it tries. There are already health-care organizations around the country that can deliver better quality care at a lower cost, which focus on improving the patient’s experience, and where innovation is alive and well. Understanding just how they’re accomplishing this could provide us with a blueprint for transforming the rest of the nation’s health care system.

The critical factor that differentiates these health care organizations from ordinary hospitals, medical groups, and health plans is that they are “integrated” care delivery systems – that is, they have combined the roles of both payer and provider. Being responsible for patient care, but also needing to pay attention to the costs associated with that care, creates a powerful incentive to do more with less.

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