IOM's landmark reports over the years
■ Selected articles on trends, challenges and controversies in the changing world of medicine.
Posted Oct. 8, 2012
Selected articles on trends, challenges and controversies in the changing world of medicine.
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When the Institute of Medicine says something, people throughout the health system listen. The IOM, founded in 1970 as the health care arm of the National Academy of Sciences, functions to provide nonpartisan, practical reform advice to policymakers. The institute's reports often are described as groundbreaking, seminal events in the world of health policy.
American Medical News regularly follows the work of the IOM and the specific impact the institute has on debates about physician issues. Some of the systemic problems the IOM has identified over the years include a prevalence of medical errors that cost patient lives, delivery system shortcomings that interfere with quality improvement, and wasteful utilization of health system resources that rob from patient care. The good news in these reports, however, is that the IOM thinks there are plenty of things that doctors and others can do about it.
The institute estimates that an eye-popping 30 cents out of every health care dollar — amounting to $750 billion in 2009 alone — is wasted. The IOM says reforms involving physicians can help transform the health system into a “learning” system that reduces inefficiency, duplication and fraud through clinical support tools, proper payment incentives and team-based care coordination models. Read more
The institute in 2001 said there was a “quality chasm” in the health system that physicians and other health professionals were trying their best to bridge but were being confounded by inefficient delivery structures that failed to reward innovation and communication. The IOM called for a collaborative effort among all players based on 10 criteria for a better delivery system, and it called on Congress to make a sizable financial investment to facilitate the process. Read more
Although the numbers it cited weren't new, the institute in 1999 turned the health policy world on its head by publicizing the estimate that as many as 98,000 people died every year due to preventable medical errors. Those penetrating the noise generated over those figures found a new layer of controversy in the IOM's recommendations: the formation of a national patient safety center, the establishment of voluntary and mandatory error reporting, and heightened focus by certification authorities on care standards followed by health professionals. Read more