Uh oh - even though there are examples of innovation in health care that contribute to higher quality, lower cost care here and there, a new report from the Institute of Medicine suggests that there is a significant lag between new, effective advancements and widespread adoption by doctors and providers. Unfortunately, the way that doctors are trained, and the way new knowledge is traditionally transmitted means that patients are missing out on the benefits of innovation in health care. According to the report, "Incremental upgrades and changes by individual hospitals or providers will not suffice." What this means for children's mental health service providers and advocates is that we have a hard road ahead of us. To ensure that the health system better serves children and families, we have to work together to disseminate and implement advances across the country in a coordinated effort in order to have a real impact.
“Achieving higher quality care at lower cost will require an across-the-board commitment to transform the U.S. health system into a ‘learning’ system that continuously improves.” The report recommends sweeping changes to the way doctors and specialists communicate to prevent misdiagnoses and to ensure that breakthroughs in medical technology are adopted more rapidly. It also recommends encouraging new payment systems that give doctors incentives to keep patients healthy, rather than to perform unnecessary or duplicative tests. The take away message is that we need to start sharing what we're doing that we know works well. If you're doing something in your state or local community that you know other agencies would want to replicate, shoot us a message here and we'll add it to our Resource Database and make sure to get the word out.