Lown Foundation hosts conference on avoiding avoidable care
Dear subscribers of ProCor,
The Lown Foundation just concluded a major conference called "Avoiding Avoidable Care". This was an invitation only gathering of leaders in American medicine focused on the causes and cures for the large amount of unnecessary care that occurs in the US health care system. Keynote speeches were delivered by Harvey Fineberg, President of the Institute of Medicine, Donald Berwick, the founder of the Institute of Healthcare Improvement, (and until recently, the Administrator of the Medicare program), Dean Julio Frenk of the Harvard School of Public Health, Secretary of Health of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Dr JudyAnn Bigby, and of course, Dr Bernard Lown.
There is clearly a growing movement towards defining and reducing the enormous amount of clinically ineffective waste in the US health care system, but judging from the comments we have been receiving and the coverage from the news media, we may have reached a significant tipping point. One can only hope so. The model of excessive, hi-tech care being adopted by the health care industry of low- and middle-income countries, and offered primarily to the emerging middle classes in the large cities represents a major opportunity cost for their societies. I know for a fact that in India, the private system of health care extracts significant amounts of wealth from people without giving equivalent value in exchange. This is an open secret outside the circles of polite conversation, but remains something that needs more attention.
I have maintained for years now that the huge amount of waste in the US and abroad represents a vast pool of resources that could be applied to extending coverage for other types of health care services, particularly preventive care and public health initiatives. The public health community and public health in general has been the victim of this misallocation of capital, and the perennial discussion about where to find scarce resources for prevention would have a different character if we were to take this issue into account.
Please visit www.avoidablecare.org to look at the details. We'll be making video of Dr Lown's speech available online when we have it. Dean Frenk's remarks, and those of many many others will also be published online over the next several days.
We welcome your reaction and comments.
President, Lown Foundation
Date Posted: 30 April 2012