Why Working Toward Climate Solutions Offers Better Health at a Lower Cost

By path2positive

This week's Health Affairs Blog, which we've incorporated below, is one that all health care providers should read. It offers perspectives from the CEOs of five national health care organizations who recently sat on a panel and have an important stake in the effectiveness of health care in America. The panel discussion focused on the application and value of Vital Signs, a consensus committee report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), which identifies 15 core measures for assessing the nation’s health. As you'll read through the statements of these leaders, including that from Climate for Health's Georges Benjamin (Executive Director of the American Public Health Association), you'll see they all place value on the idea that we should aim for "better health at a lower cost". Preventative health is nearly always the most cost effective means of treating disease. This is one reason why working toward climate solutions should be of the utmost importance to health professionals. Amongst the well known health effects of climate change such as heat stroke and lung disease, it will wreak havoc on future generations, has mental health repercussions and can cause low birth weights, just to name a few of the generally unknown impacts.. Alternatively, lowering CO2 levels has many benefits, such as improved human cognition. It's time to heed the call.

Vital Signs: A Call To Action On Core Metrics

Health Affairs Blog

By Georges Benjamin, Dan Crippen, Paul Jarris, Jim Madara, and Richard Umbdenstock I January 11, 2016

In April 2015, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released Vital Signs, a consensus committee report which identifies 15 core measures for assessing the nation’s health. The streamlined core measure set is a critical tool for mitigating measurement burden, sharpening focus on priorities that matter most, and aligning measurement activities around shared goals for health and health care. The application of the core measure set, standardized and harmonized at every level, holds the potential not only to substantially improve performance in the multiple systems in play, but to yield data of the reliability and comparability necessary to accelerate the continuous production of new knowledge on what works best.

Still, the utility of the set depends on widespread adoption and demands strong leadership at every level of the health care system — beginning with the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), and extending to standards organizations, provider groups, hospitals, state and municipal departments, payers and purchasers, among others.

At the report’s release event held earlier this year at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, a panel of key national leaders, each with important stake in the effectiveness of health and health care, discussed what Vital Signs means for their respective organizations, and identified opportunities where each can contribute to ensuring the adoption and use of the IOM’s recommendations.

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