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Let’s Go!

By Maureen Bisognano | Monday, August 6, 2012
June 28th was a nerve-wracking day at IHI. As we went through our normal slate of meetings and emails, we would occasionally, sometimes compulsively, check SCOTUS Blog for any news of the impending decision. When the news finally broke, we experienced a range of emotions. There was surprise, relief, confusion, joy, and more. But by the end of the day, we had all settled back into our work with a renewed determination.
 
The Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act is a wonderful moment not only because it will do so much good for so many, but also because it provides an opportunity to put political squabbling behind us and accelerate the work of redesigning care.
 
Since the ACA was enacted into law in March of 2010, we’ve witnessed an unfortunate and unconstructive political debate. But at the front lines of care, great things are happening. In my travels I meet countless health care professionals who are passionately pushing ahead with an effort to provide better, more efficient, and more affordable care.
 
And the ACA helps us do that. We’ve already seen tangible benefits from the law and by 2019 more than 30 million Americans without coverage will have it. Children with pre-existing conditions will not be excluded from coverage. Medicare will help nudge us away from fee-for-service waste by providing incentives for better care, not just more care.
 
Providing access to care for tens of millions of Americans -- including access to vital preventive services and care for chronic conditions -- is hugely important.
 
But we know that increased access to care alone is not the answer. That’s why this is the perfect time to accelerate the innovation in health care by pursuing the IHI Triple Aim: better experience of care, better population health, and lower per capita cost.

Maybe the best thing about my job is getting to see the growing evidence that organizations and communities can simultaneously achieve all three dimensions of the Triple Aim. Charlie Kenney and I recently wrote a book about a number of these innovative organizations. PURSUING THE TRIPLE AIM: Seven Innovators Show the Way to Better Care, Better Health and Lower Costs, highlights an array of exceptional work that gets at the Triple Aim.
The more I’m out in the field, the more health care professionals I meet who see the Triple Aim as the health care goal for the United States. Many provisions of the ACA will help us get there, but in the meantime, our job is to accelerate innovation at the front lines – to redesign the way we provide care to improve quality and cut costs.
 
At the IHI Forum last December, Don Berwick gave us a dose of his customary optimism. He said, “I have never seen, nor had I dared hope to see, an era in American health care when more is possible than at this very moment.” He also said that it’s our “moral duty” to “rescue American health care the only way it can be rescued -- by improving it.”
 
I couldn’t agree more. Let’s go!

 

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