As a field we are still on the journey from volume to value. The emphasis on the integration of value-based care into payment reform efforts will increasingly affect all stakeholders. It will drive movement toward a common set of metrics that will constitute the value and quality provided. It will require a comprehensive data strategy to assess performance and analyze different risk-sharing models and ultimately move to enhanced models of care.

— MaryJane Wurth, executive vice president, American Hospital Association

Quality & Patient Safety

  • In response to unsustainable health care spending and the need to improve patient outcomes, new chronic disease management models are focused on care coordination among all of a patient’s providers across all health care settings. Hospitals are engaged in various coordination of care activities. Among them are medication reconciliation (88 percent), provision of visit summaries to outpatients and scheduling follow-up visits/referrals (52 percent), and disease management programs for chronic care conditions (37 percent).1,2
  • In 2014, nearly 20,000 deaths due to overdose of prescription opioids occurred in the U.S. That same year, more than 10 million people reported using prescription opioids for nonmedical reasons, and close to 2 million people older than 12 met diagnostic criteria for a substance use disorder involving prescription opioids. This is the highest number of individuals considered to have an opioid addiction since statistics began to be collected in the late 19th century.3
  • Today, a typical health system accepts patients from dozens of payers. Each of these payers has its own measures for evaluating performance. In the public sector, there are more than 500 different state and regional quality measures, only 20 percent of which were used by more than one program. Private insurers add their own unique evaluation measures to the mix, amounting to more than 550 additional performance measures. Not only does measure proliferation lead to “measurement fatigue,” it’s also a source of enormous inefficiency. In 2016, we will see a renewed effort to align and simplify the measurement cacophony.4
  • In 2014 alone, Medicare ACOs improved quality and patient experience markedly over previous years and saved more than $411 million for the program.5
  • There has been a 17 percent reduction from 2010 to 2014 in the number of hospital-acquired conditions such as ulcers, infections, and avoidable traumas, representing over more than 87,000 lives saved and $20 billion in cost savings.6

2017 AHA Environmental Scan

Download the complete 2017 AHA Environmental Scan PDF sponsored by B. E. Smith.


  1. AHA Hospital Statistics 2016 edition, Health Forum, 2016
  2. “Improved Chronic Disease Management with Alternative Healthcare Delivery,” Elsevier Clinical Solutions, 2015
  3. “The CDC Guideline on Opioid Prescribing: Rising to the Challenge,” Yngvild Olsen, M.D., JAMA, 315(15): 1577-1579, April 19, 2016
  4. “Six Big Trends to Watch in Health Care for 2016,” by Susan DeVore, Health Affairs Blog, Dec. 30, 2015
  5. “Keeping Consumers Covered,” by Health Insurance Marketplace CEO Kevin Counihan, The CMS Blog, March 11, 2016