Dr. Craig Smith - Future of Healthcare

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I think just about anyone would agree that the future of healthcare is headed towards greater cost containment, and the debate in details around how cost will be contained, whether it will be achieved by reducing cost only by increasing efficiency, or whether it will be achieved by only reducing utilization, or some combination thereof. Talking about reducing utilization alone goes straight to a discussion of rationing which no one wants to say.

We would all hope that efficiencies would make rationing unnecessary, but it remains very uncertain whether the savings required can be achieved just by efficiencies. The Department of Surgery of Columbia is trying to stay ahead of those trends by making ourselves as efficient as possible. By producing the same quality and quantity of surgery, and the other things that we do at the lowest possible cost, and hopefully in the most appropriate way, so that we achieve both, greater efficiency and appropriate utilization. So that we can't be accused in this difficult future of doing procedures that shouldn't be done, or charging too much for them, or spending too much money, and time, and other resources in getting them done.

So it's a major effort of my department, I'm sure every other department.