Research and Healthcare’s Cost-Quality Challenge

The Healthcare Leadership Council has long maintained that the nation can’t make its way toward a high-quality, cost-effective, sustainable healthcare system simply through arbitrary cuts in healthcare expenditures and controlling prices through government fiat.  The importance of targeted research to better understand how to improve the efficacy of healthcare delivery and achieve a higher level of population health can’t be overstated.

That’s why we’re keeping a close eye on the comparative effective research being undertaken by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.  An important tool in this observation is the annual survey of healthcare stakeholders conducted by the National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC) health policy research organization.  NPC has just released the results of its fourth annual survey of insurers, government leaders, employers and others who have a strong interest in the progress of comparative effectiveness research.  Some of the facets of the survey we found most interesting include:

•    A large majority – 84 percent – feel this research has had very little impact on healthcare decisionmaking over the past year, but are confident it will have a greater effect in the next three to five years.

•    Stakeholders see a public-private partnership in the way healthcare research is conducted.  According to the survey, they believe academia and the pharmaceutical industry will conduct most of the actual research in the years to come, but PCORI and the National Institutes of Health will be the leading players in funding and monitoring research.

•    More stakeholders are saying that research priorities are adequately addressing the real-world choices faced by patients and providers – 37 percent now, up from 22 percent last year.

We believe comparative effectiveness research can be a valuable tool, if it is used to provide the different sectors of the healthcare community with the kind of information that can improve clinical effectiveness for all patients and healthcare consumers.  The NPC survey provides an important measuring stick on this evolving linkage between data and healthcare practice.