Competition in Health Care: It takes Systems to Pursue Quality and Efficiency

Competition in Health Care: It takes Systems to Pursue Quality and Efficiency

By
Alain C. Enthoven, Laura Tollen
Health Affairs. September
7, 2005

Many stakeholders agree that the current model of U.S. health care competition is not working. Costs continue to rise at double-digit rates, and quality is far from optimal. One proposal for fixing health care markets is to eliminate provider networks and encourage informed, financially responsible consumers to choose the best provider for each condition. We argue that this “solution” will lead our health care markets toward even greater fragmentation and lack of coordination in the delivery system. Instead, we need markets that encourage integrated delivery systems, with incentives for teams of professionals to provide coordinated, efficient, evidence-based care, supported by state-of-the-art information technology.