Reducing readmissions should be No. 1 priority for reducing healthcare costs, quality experts say

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Reducing readmissions would have the most significant impact in bringing down U.S. healthcare costs, according to a survey of health quality experts. Long-term care providers play an important role in preventing readmissions and other top priorities identified by the survey, such as implementing care coordination programs.

Other cost-saving initiatives included expanding the role of nurse practitioners and other non-physician providers, and collecting better data on healthcare technology return-on-investment.

The online poll reflected responses from about 300 members of ASQ, which describes itself as largest network of quality resources and experts in the world. Members include prominent long-term care quality consultants. The poll was anonymous, but it is reasonable to expect that long-term care stakeholders were among the respondents, and ASQ spokeswoman told McKnight's.

“Medicare and Medicaid funding challenges” is the No. 1 hurdle to healthcare cost-cutting, according to the poll. Reimbursement models that don't incentivize health maintenance and uncoordinated care were among other top challenges identified.

Implementing management systems and tools such as Lean, integrating purchasing and technology departments, and better controlling inventory are among the most effective ways providers can bring down costs, the respondents said.

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