Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Healthcare cost analysis - resources

Regular readers know my abiding interest in healthcare cost containment. However, it's hard to write knowledgeably about the subject without delving into a lot of statistics. I've finally attempted to find sources for my research that a layman can use. This is what I've found. (Many thanks to commenters who directed me to some of these resources.)

McKinsey, a pdf download that is great, but it is pre-digested so let's hope they did a good job. 122 pages, but chunked into tight, readable sections with many charts. By pre-digested, I mean that they picked what to highlight, rather than letting you sort through all the data. That gives them the control over what you see, and especially over what you don't see.

The Commonwealth Fund report, a 14-page pdf that is also very readable with even better charts. Also from Commonwealth is this editorial that quantifies some of the benefits of recent reforms.

Usually when you want to save money, you look at your big expenses first because they have the most potential for cost savings. This report from MEPS (Medical Expediture Panel Survey - federal, I think) is an overview of the big expenses. Don't get your hopes up--there's little here to make me optimistic about cost containment.

For more nitty-gritty look at statistics, this 13-page breakdown of expenditure patterns from CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services - federal) may help. Unfortunately, it only covers to 2004. This one is less readable, but covers up to 2010.

Finally, this report from the California HealthCare Foundation is a very visual 32-page download overview of spending with gorgeous charts. It's part of a library of report, so I'll have to look sometime to find other gems in that library.


When I was reviewing sources, I found something interesting. We spend a lot on cancer treatment, but we do really well on survival rates for two of the most common cancers, breast cancer and colorectal cancer (this source, p. 10). Yeah!


Update 8/5/13. How did I leave out the Dartmouth Healthcare Atlas,which shows usage patterns all around the country?

No comments: