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 / Spring 2007 / Issue 46(originally published by Booz & Company)


Does Health Care Have a Future?

Yet the version of reform presented by Porter and Teisberg remains the most hopeful of all possibilities. Much depends on how far providers allow transparency to go, and that may depend on how emphatically consumers demand it. Once it becomes common for health-care providers to post actual prices and actual results in standardized ways that produce comparable data, it is hard to see how consumers, insurance companies, and referring physicians would ever choose low quality at high prices, as they do today. Real transparency will mean real competition, and real competition, in every other industry, has benefited the consumer. One does not have to be an oblivious optimist to imagine health care 10 to 15 years from now being available to all and offering substantially higher quality at significantly lower cost than it does today. This is the magic, and even the inevitable result, of competing on value.

Reprint No. 07110

Author Profiles:

Joe Flower ([email protected]) writes on management and medical issues, and has long been a contributing editor and columnist at the industry publications Healthcare Forum Journal, Hospitals and Health Networks Online, and Physician Executive.

David Knott ([email protected]) is a senior vice president with Booz Allen Hamilton based in New York City. He works with health services clients on corporate and business unit strategies and transformation programs.
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Health-Care Resources
Works mentioned in this review.

  1. Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, Critical Condition: How Health Care in America Became Big Business and Bad Medicine (2004; Broadway, 2005), 286 pages, $14.95
  2. Susan Starr Sered and Rushika Fernandopulle, Uninsured in America: Life and Death in the Land of Opportunity (University of California Press, 2005), 272 pages, $15.95
  3. The Institute of Medicine, Insuring America’s Health: Principles and Recommendations (National Academies Press, 2004), 222 pages, $26.10, or download PDF for $22.50 at Click here.
  4. Charles R. Morris, Apart at the Seams: The Collapse of Private Pension and Health Care Protections (Century Foundation Press, 2006), 86 pages, $14.95
  5. Jill S. Quadagno, One Nation, Uninsured: Why the U.S. Has No National Health Insurance (Oxford University Press, 2005), 286 pages, $28
  6. Arnold S. Kling, Crisis of Abundance: Rethinking How We Pay for Health Care (Cato Institute, 2006), 120 pages, $16.95
  7. Regina E. Herzlinger, editor, Consumer-Driven Healthcare: Implications for Providers, Payers, and Policymakers (Jossey-Bass, 2004), 926 pages, $55
  8. Michael E. Porter and Elizabeth Olmsted Teisberg, Redefining Health Care: Creating Value-Based Competition on Results (Harvard Business School Press, 2006), 524 pages, $35
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