Title

Outcomes Assessment in Health Care Reform: Promise and Limitations

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1994

ISSN

0098-8588

Publisher

American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics

Language

en-US

Abstract

If the fundamental goals of the health care reform effort are to ensure universal access to an acceptable quality of health care at an affordable cost, then the threshold question for reform is: What health care services should be provided in an efficient, equitable system?

Answering this question requires weighing a complex mix of medical and social policy factors, a process not attempted in this article. But the starting point for that process should be determining what health care services “work” and what they cost. Outcomes assessment holds considerable promise in finding answers to these subsidiary questions, because it is intended to assess the effectiveness of health care services, that is, what works and what does not work for patients. It holds promise, not only for improving the quality of care, but also for identifying unnecessary or wasteful practices that increase health care costs.

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