Healthcare That Works

1/3/12

[Editor's note: As a New Year's exercise, we asked a select group of Xconomists to answer this question: "What's the craziest idea out there that just might succeed?"]

Reinventing the absolutely dysfunctional healthcare delivery system in the U.S. It is a daunting idea, as it requires major changes in 100 years worth of doctor and patient behavior, as well as an enormous shift in our healthcare payments ecosystem. Why might it succeed? We have no choice. If it does not change, the “American Dream” is over – and we now have the tools to do it. What will be the underpinnings of this change? Firstly, turning people into consumers of healthcare—where they investigate, compare, and shop for services with an eye towards the most efficient use of resources (time, money, etc.) for the best outcome; and secondly, evolving the way in which we pay for healthcare from a pay-for-volume approach to a pay-for-outcomes approach.

Bryan Roberts, Ph.D. is a partner with Venrock. Follow @

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  • Nessan Bermingham

    Could not agree more – US healthcare costs today amount to over 17% of GDP and is expected to grow to in excess of 19% by 2019 (CMS.gov/). Without reinventing our healthcare system its long term sustainability is highly questionable. Emerging technologies will certainly drive this reinvention however other factors are essential including – making people more accountable for their healthcare, incenting them to seek treatment earlier (preventative care), equipping them with the tools to explore treatment options, and outcomes (the Amazon or Rotten Tomatoes of the HC world) in addition to an overhaul of the FDA regulatory process making it more streamlined & cost effective not to mention reinventing our reimbursement approaches. Scientific research & development across drugs, devices, IT & patient management is making tremendous advances however these advances are being stifled by the archaic healthcare system they are being developed/introduced to.

  • Anna Sophia

    The most critical component is reducing cost by making medical school tuition vastly more affordable or free. It’s the basic principal of supply and demand. Medical care will never be affordable as long as medical school students leave with hundreds of thousands of dollars of tuition costs. The blame the patient mentality currently pushed by insurance companies is played out. There is too much profit in the system and consumers need to stop putting up with it. The AMA is not blameless in this.

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