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New Survey: Most Americans Think Health System Needs Major Overhaul

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Dissatisfaction with the U.S. health care system is running high, and 82 percent of Americans think it should be fundamentally changed or completely rebuilt, according to a new survey released today by The Commonwealth Fund.

As reported in Public Views on U.S. Health Care System Organization: A Call for New Directions, the vast majority of survey respondents–nine of 10–feel it is important that the two leading presidential candidates propose reform plans that would improve health care quality, ensure that all Americans can afford health care and insurance, and decrease the number of uninsured.

The survey also found that people are frustrated with the way they currently get health care: 47 percent of respondents said they experienced poorly coordinated medical care in the past two years, meaning that they were not informed about test results or had to call repeatedly to get them, important medical information wasn’t shared between doctors and nurses, or communication between primary care doctors and specialists was poor.

Also today, The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System released a report outlining what an ideally organized U.S. health care system would look like. The report, Organizing the U.S. Health Care Delivery System for High Performance, describes strategies that could create an organized, efficient health care system while simultaneously improving care and cutting costs. Specifically, it calls for:

  • Payment reform to ensure that health care providers and hospitals are paid for delivering high-quality, patient-centered, coordinated care.
  • Patient incentives that encourage people to go to the health care professionals and institutions that provide the most efficient, highest-quality care.
  • Regulatory changes to remove barriers that prevent physicians from sharing information that is essential for well-coordinated care and safe transitions for patients.
  • Accreditation of providers and health systems based on six attributes of an ideal health care system.
  • Provider training on how to deliver team-based care.
  • Government infrastructure support–for example, to aid the adoption of health information technology or performance improvement activities.
  • Use of health information technology–providers should be required to implement and use electronic health records within five years.
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