BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - Oct 31, 2012) - More than a hundred health care leaders from around the world joined today to inaugurate the International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement (ICHOM), a nonprofit founded on a simple premise: that the universal development and reporting of patient outcomes is the single greatest priority in making high-quality health care economically sustainable.
By drawing from 55 leading registries and provider organizations to create the first publicly searchable international database of health outcomes measures (at www.ichom.org), and by studying and disseminating measurement best practices, ICHOM aims to accelerate the adoption of outcomes measurement in health care -- a sector that has long suffered from the absence of systematic ways to assess the actual results of its efforts.
"When I first began studying health care years ago, I was stunned to find that outcomes measurement was almost nonexistent in the field," said Professor Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School's Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, a cofounder of ICHOM, and a coauthor of the book Redefining Health Care. "Nearly every other industry measures outcomes. And when it has been done in health care, the result has always been rapid improvement."
The organization launches at a time when health care systems across the globe are facing mounting financial pressures to ration care. Costs are spiraling ever higher, while quality of care continues to fall short. The only solution to this burgeoning crisis is to drive innovation in how care is delivered. But innovation in health care delivery has proved difficult because the field has largely failed to measure outcomes -- blinding patients, payers, and even clinicians to the results of the care provided and to how care can be improved.
To this end, ICHOM has already convened multi-stakeholder groups for four high-impact medical conditions, such as diabetes, coronary artery disease, hip and knee arthroplasty, and cataracts to agree on a standard set of outcomes measures that will allow comparison of results across health providers internationally. It is also working to facilitate the adoption of more-comprehensive measurement that covers the aspects of health that matter most to patients, such as pain, nausea, and quality of life. And it is studying how leading measurement efforts have achieved success in assessing results and driving change in order to disseminate best practices globally.
"We have to separate what works well for patients from what does not, and that means measuring outcomes," said Stefan Larsson, MD, PhD, a senior partner at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a co-founder of ICHOM. "We cannot continue to invest in treatments that don't work or, worse, cause harm. And we have seen that with the right information, physicians can not only improve outcomes but drive down costs too."
ICHOM unveiled its website today at an inaugural conference whose participants included leaders from public and private organizations, such as the Cleveland Clinic, MD Anderson Cancer Center, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, UnitedHealthcare, Kaiser Permanente, the American College of Cardiology, and General Electric. The organization plans to offer an executive course on outcomes measurement, publish case studies on successful current efforts, and provide support to fledgling measurement initiatives -- all with the aim of making the universal adoption of outcomes measurement a reality in health care.
"This is not going to be an easy task, nor are the answers going to appear overnight," said Martin Ingvar, MD, PhD, dean of research at ICHOM co-founder the Karolinska Institutet. "But those pockets of health care that have adopted outcomes measurement have shown us the transformational potential for transparency and choice to drive higher-value health care. Imagine what we could accomplish if we put outcomes measurement at the center of reform for all of health care."
The International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement (ICHOM) is a nonprofit cooperative united by the vision of taking outcomes-based health care from concept to reality. Founded by three renowned organizations and individuals, ICHOM is helping to guide the implementation of value-based health care (VBHC) around the world. The organization's goal is to improve health outcomes by stemming uncontrollable growth in overall health costs and increasing the value of every health care dollar spent. Value, as outlined by VBHC, is maximized by identifying, codifying, and promoting treatments that are proven to yield better results at the same or lower cost.