Sustainable Health: A Manifesto for Improvement

It is clear that the current health system is simply unsustainable: population health is declining, while life expectancy is increasing; large gaps exist in access to care; growing health spending is having a negative consequence on families, businesses, and taxpayers; and undue pressure is put on hospitals and health professionals to fix these rising costs. This is why Optum’s mission is to provide workable solutions that help communities move towards greater sustainability

In this paper, we explore the building blocks that form the foundations of sustainable health and present important new national survey data that identify opportunities and challenges on the road ahead.  Sustainability is not simply a synonym for capitation, Accountable Care Organization (ACO), HMO or the managed care of the 1990s.  A sustainable model is one in which providers, patients and payers work together to deliver high-quality health care that meets patients’ needs in the most affordable way. These communities have the resources, tools and incentives to affect positive change and to make it lasting.

Optum partnered with Harris Interactive to assess the views of stakeholders — doctors, U.S. adults, and hospital executives — on the sustainability of health care within their community and their overall perception of the quality and cost of health care delivered in the community. One thousand physicians, 2,000 U.S. adults, and 400 hospital executives were polled to gauge their opinions on the sustainability of health care. The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Optum in October 2011.

Read the full report.