Productivity of US Hospitals Surprisingly Good

John Romley Ph.D Economist at the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics Research Assistant Professor Sol Price School of Public Policy University of Southern California, Los Angeles.MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
John Romley Ph.D
Economist at the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics
Research Assistant Professor Sol Price School of Public Policy
University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Romley: The need for better value in US health care is widely recognized. Existing evidence suggests that improvement in the productivity of American hospitals—that is, the output that hospitals produce from inputs such as labor and capital—has lagged behind that of other industries. However, previous studies have not adequately addressed quality of care or severity of patient illness. Our study, by contrast, adjusts for trends in the severity of patients’ conditions and health outcomes. We studied productivity growth among US hospitals in treating Medicare patients with heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia during 2002–11. We found that the rates of annual productivity growth were 0.78 percent for heart attack, 0.62 percent for heart failure, and 1.90 percent for pneumonia.

MedicalResearch:What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Romley: These findings suggest that productivity growth in US health care could be better than is sometimes believed, and may help alleviate concerns about Medicare payment policy under the Affordable Care Act.

MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Romley: It is unknown, and worth knowing, whether similar productivity gains are being achieved in sectors such as skilled nursing care, or through new delivery and payment models such as accountable care organizations. Understanding the drivers of productivity trends is also important.

Citation:

US Hospitals Experienced Substantial Productivity Growth During 2002–11
Romley JA, Goldman DP, Sood N
Health Aff (Millwood).

2015 Feb 11. pii: 10.1377/hlthaff.2014.0587

MedicalResearch.com Interview with John Romley Ph.D (2015). Productivity of US Hospitals Surprisingly Good MedicalResearch.com

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