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Just How Big are the Gaps?

Part 2 of 6 in our Emerging Rx series

This eLearning series, which we will release over the next few weeks, addresses the changing healthcare environment, the importance of technology as a tool to achieve improved care and efficiency, and the opportunities for pharmacists to play new strategic roles.

In the long-standing traditional model of healthcare, providers and payers act in silos, without communicating with the patient or with each other. To provide more efficient, effective patient care, our system must change. In this second part of our eLearning series, we’ll look at some of the gaps in our current healthcare system.

Part 2: Just how big are the gaps?

While healthcare in the U.S. is considered among the highest in quality, it is also among the most costly with inefficiencies and significant gaps in care. The 2011 National Scorecard on U.S. Health System Performance found that care coordination is rare and almost half of Americans reported communication problems with their primary care physician.

 

Say a patient interacts with a primary care doctor, then a specialist, a pharmacist, a hospital and an insurer. In many cases, the patient’s health information is left behind while that patient moves through the system, leaving the various providers to work without full awareness of the patient’s history, health and care plan.

Only 43% of adults with health problems could rapidly get an appointment when they were sick, 19% of U.S. patients reported undergoing duplicate tests, and only half received all recommended screening and preventive care.

— National Scorecard on U.S. Health System Performance, 2008

This lack of coordination leads to duplicate processes and care, such as the patient filling out separate forms for each care team player and providers authorizing duplicate tests or prescribing conflicting drugs — driving the cost of care up and the quality of care down.

Later in the series, we will identify opportunities to bridge these gaps in patient care. Check back soon for Part Three: What’s Missing in the Current Healthcare Ecosystem?

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