Learning from the Best- and Worst-Performing States

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<p>What do the states with the highest-performing health care systems have that the lowest-performing states do not? </p>
<p>In the new Commonwealth Fund brief <a href="/publications/issue-briefs/2011/may/lessons-high-and-low-performing-states-raising-overall-health">Lessons from High- and Low-Performing States for Raising Overall Health System Performance</a>, Sharon Silow-Carroll and Greg Moody of Health Management Associates examined data from the Fund’s most recent State Scorecard on Health System Performance and interviewed health policy experts to address this important question. The authors find that while socioeconomic and demographic factors certainly play a large role in overall health system performance, high-performing states share a number of additional attributes not typically found among the low performers. These include a history of continuous reform and government leadership in this area; a culture of collaboration among health care stakeholders; transparency of information on price and quality; and a congruent set of policies focusing on system improvement. </p>
<p>By focusing on strategies identified in the brief—such as aligning incentives for providers, health plans, purchasers, and consumers and taking advantage of federal funding and reform opportunities—the authors say it’s possible for the lowest-ranked states to raise their performance closer to the levels achieved by the top states. In doing so, they can save thousands of lives, improve access and quality of life for millions of people, and reduce costs. <br /></p>