Control and Reduce the Cost of Providing Care

Cost of Care Pinwheel
  • Anticipate and respond to healthcare reform and the changing healthcare environment to ensure that we can continue to serve all children in our region, regardless of their family’s ability to pay.
  • Limit increases in our cost per patient so that it rises no faster than general inflation.

Responding to a Changing Environment

Dr. Rita Mangione-Smith and newborn patient

Dr. Rita Mangione-Smith provides care to a newborn patient.

The rising cost of healthcare means providers must make every penny count, so it is important that doctors and hospitals know that the care they deliver improves patients’ health and their quality of life.

Dr. Rita Mangione-Smith, researcher at Children’s, is actively investigating how to measure those things.

Her research is extremely timely. Today, tracking outcomes and measuring quality is completely voluntary for pediatric healthcare providers. However, in the future, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will likely link reimbursement to quality and outcome measurements.

“The healthcare reform legislation is full of references to assessing, improving and measuring quality of care and to holding healthcare organizations accountable for outcomes,” says Mangione-Smith. “Being able to measure whether healthcare is having the desired effect on quality of life is one of the most important dimensions of quality.”

One thrust of Mangione-Smith’s research involves using a survey called the PedsQL to look at how children are functioning physically, emotionally, socially and in school at the time they’re admitted to the hospital and then two weeks after they leave.

Mangione-Smith is the first to introduce the PedsQL survey as a routine part of every hospital admission. Her vision is for doctors at Children’s to look at the data from the surveys whenever they change the approach to care for a particular diagnosis. Comparing the before-and after quality of life reports will help them see if the new approach makes a difference.

Building on that work, Mangione-Smith is also leading an effort to develop measures to evaluate how well healthcare providers coordinate care for children with complex healthcare needs and mental health conditions, and how different services affect the quality of their lives.

“These children access services in multiple settings, and we all need to work together effectively if we want to improve their health and quality of life,” she says.

“The healthcare reform legislation is full of references to assessing, improving and measuring quality of care and to holding healthcare organizations accountable for outcomes. Being able to measure whether healthcare is having the desired effect on quality of life is one of the most important dimensions of quality.”

Dr. Rita Mangione-Smith