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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Overcoming Obstacles to Improving Quality

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I’m Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

The most visible healthcare debates recently have been disagreements over who’s going to pay for healthcare. But the simple fact is we can’t effectively lower the cost of healthcare unless we improve the quality.

Healthcare providers have made significant progress in improving quality in the last few years as standard measurements have become more readily available. We still have much work to do, and Texas Health is committed to continually improving the care we deliver.

Physicians and hospitals across the country are working hard to overcome obstacles that have slowed progress in the past. According to an Institute of Medicine report, the delay in adopting best practices of treatment has been as long as 17 years from the time of consensus. That’s way too long. Texas Health is working to implement best practices of evidence-based medicine as soon as consensus develops.

The current reimbursement system is based primarily on fee-for-service reimbursement, which has led to fragmented care, duplication and higher costs. Texas Health is advocating for policy changes to facilitate communication, integration and coordination of care, thereby increasing quality and reducing costs. Texas Health has also been at the forefront of implementing Electronic Health Records to enhance communications, improve coordination and reduce costs.

Texas Health is creating a culture of quality and continuous improvement throughout our organization because we believe the quality of care is even more important than how we pay for it.

For our faith-based family of hospitals — Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Harris Methodist and Texas Health Arlington Memorial — I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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