This is the first in a series of articles designed to help trustees better understand Intermountain’s Shared Accountability initiative.
The purpose of Shared Accountability is to help Intermountain provide better care and support better health at the lowest sustainable costs. (In healthcare, these are called the “Triple Aim” goals.) Shared Accountability uses three major approaches to transform the way Intermountain delivers healthcare:
- Redesigning how care is provided.
- Realigning financial incentives for those with a stake in healthcare.
- Engaging patients in prevention and wellness.
Intermountain’s basic premise is that, in healthcare, higher quality tends to result in lower costs. Why? Because better care tends to minimize medical complications and improve outcomes and health. Shared Accountability aims to expand the scope and scale of our quality improvement efforts. We also want to ensure we’re consistently following indications for “appropriate use” — meaning that, based on medical evidence, a treatment or procedure’s expected health benefits exceed expected health risks by a safe margin.
Shared Accountability is needed because the healthcare environment is changing. More and more people are seeking care due to an aging population (as Baby Boomers become seniors), a rising incidence of health risks and associated diseases (such as obesity and diabetes), and a greater availability of health insurance. If quality care is to be available to growing numbers of patients, all participants in healthcare — including patients — need to do their part to ensure care is effective and resources are used wisely.
So Shared Accountability is important as a strategy for enhancing health and healthcare. It’s also important as a way of improving our management of costs so patients continue to have access to care.
“Government agencies and an increasing number of businesses can’t afford to keep paying more for healthcare,” said Joe Mott, Intermountain’s Vice President for Healthcare Transformation. “The American system is becoming unsustainable because healthcare costs too much. Shared Accountability will help us fundamentally transform how we provide services, so we can improve the care and health of the people who depend on us — at costs they can afford.”
Future articles will explore different aspects of our Shared Accountability approach.