Outcomes key to ACA mission of reducing health care costs

Several health care experts, including Clifford Y. Ko, MD, MS, MSHA, FACS, Director of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care, examined the complex political, medical, and business ramifications of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at a half-day forum sponsored by the National Journal on October 3 in Washington, DC. For the ACA to achieve its mission of curbing the cost of health care, accurate, risk-adjusted data must be collected, Dr. Ko said at the forum.

“We need good, rigorous, and believable data that physicians on the front line will trust and buy into,” Dr. Ko, Director of the ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP®), said. “And we need to be able to collect the data without a lot of burden.” College databases such as the National Cancer Data Base and ACS NSQIP have focused on collecting robust data. The ACS, which has led a number of initiatives to improve quality in such areas as trauma and cancer, subscribes to four key principles: set the standards, build the right infrastructure, use robust patient data, and verify.

“What we need is more and better metrics,” Dr. Ko said. “We continually need to accurately and appropriately measure the care we’re delivering.”

The forum examined the complex political, medical, and business ramifications of the ACA. Participants included key decision-makers from areas impacted by the new law. View the ACS press release regarding the National Journal forum.

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