To give Americans world-class health care, the government and private organizations should focus on 20 areas that could have a broad impact on patients, families and communities, the Institute of Medicine reported Tuesday.
Efforts to improve health care should begin with the priority areas, the Institute, part of the National Academies, said in a study prepared for the Department of Health and Human Services.
The panel noted that several reports in recent years have called attention to problems with the health care system.
The priority areas, which were not ranked, are: Asthma, doing a better job of supporting and treating those with chronic conditions. Care coordination for the approximately 60 million patients with multiple chronic conditions. Children with special health and care needs, particularly those with chronic conditions who require more than the normal level of care. Diabetes, which can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, blindness and other complications. End-of-life care for people with advanced organ failures, concentrating on reducing symptoms. Evidence-based cancer screening, which can reduce death rates for many cancers, including colorectal and cervical. Frailty associated with old age, focusing on preventing falls, treating bedsores and improving advanced care. High blood pressure. One-third of victims aren't aware of the disease, but left untreated it can lead to heart attack, stroke and kidney failure. Immunization. "Every year diseases that can be prevented kill about 300 children and between 50,000 and 70,000 adults," the committee said. Major killers: flu and pneumonia. Ischemic heart disease, also known as coronary heart disease. Efforts should focus on prevention. Major depression, which currently has a much lower treatment rate that other major diseases. Medication management to prevent errors. Noscomal infections. These are infections acquired in the hospital and kill an estimated 90,000 Americans annually. Obesity, which is blamed for as many as 300,000 deaths annually in the United States. Pain control in advanced cancer. Pregnancy and childbirth, especially improving the quality of prenatal care. Self-management and health literacy, using public and private organizations to increase the level of health education. Severe and persistent mental illness; improving mental health care in the public sector, including state hospitals and community centers. Stroke, the third highest cause of death in America. Tobacco-dependence treatment for adults.
The National Academies are an independent organization chartered by Congress to provide advice to the government on scientific matters.