What's the Problem?


The US wastes about $1 trillion per year – one-third of our health care dollars. Part of this waste is in the form of unnecessary hospitalizations, readmissions, emergency department and even clinic visits, which are not only expensive, but also take a huge toll on patients and their families. Even if all of these wastes were eliminated, we are nonetheless faced with increasing demand for medical care, as the population ages with increases in chronic disease and greater expectations for health. In the face of increasing demand, there is a shortage of supply: some have suggested that in the next year, we will face shortages of shortages of 100,000 physicians and 1 million nurses. The US Institute of Medicine has suggested that the shortages are exaggerated, and that surely there are more efficient ways to meet the workforce needs entirely with producing more physicians and nurses. A new approach to workforce and health care delivery is needed that improves access, improves outcomes and reduces cost.