Health Care Crisis: Unsustainable Costs, Major Inconveniencies and Avoidable Deaths Mean Americans are “Mistreated”

Washington, D.C. (May 4, 2017) – Costs for health care in the U.S. are unsustainable, threatening the economic health of the nation, yet hundreds of thousands of Americans die each year unnecessarily because of a combination of medical errors, failures in prevention and health care disparities. The American health care system is broken; an inefficient care delivery structure, outdated technology, and profound misalignment of incentives result in millions of patients being mistreated.

This dire prognosis – and the treatment required to resuscitate American health care – is the message in the new book, Mistreated: Why We Think We are Getting Good Health Care and Why We Are Usually Wrong, by Robert Pearl, M.D., chair of the Council of Accountable Physician Practices (CAPP), a coalition of America’s high-performing medical groups and health systems, and CEO of The Permanente Medical Group, Kaiser Permanente.

Dr. Pearl’s warning and solutions were shared in two keynotes at the 14th Annual World Health Care Congress in Washington D.C., May 1 – 3.

“The real crisis today isn’t around how we structure coverage or even if it is paid through businesses or the government; it is the critical need to reform our entire health care delivery system,” said Dr. Pearl. “If we reward health care providers for value instead of volume, and leverage digital technology and video to connect the health care team and patients, we can actually deliver better quality care and a lower cost.”

“The medical groups in CAPP have demonstrated what is possible in terms of quality, convenience, technology, and cost, and how innovation improves patient outcomes. But if we as a nation do not embrace these changes more broadly, then we will experience either a huge disruption through global competition, or a slide into a two-tier system in which most Americans will get second-class health care.”

Mistreated: Why We Think We are Getting Good Healthcare and Why We Are Usually Wrong, released May 2, is dedicated to Dr. Pearl’s father who died due in part to medical error and failures in communication. In the book, Dr. Pearl explains how these medical errors can be eliminated through care coordination, technology and aligned incentives. Using psychological research, behavioral economics and the most recent brain scanning findings, he shows how our brains lead us to form incorrect perceptions about the health care we receive. He emphasizes the power of context, and how through integration, prepayment, information technology, and physician leadership, superior outcomes can be achieved.

Citing the unlikelihood of the legacy players in health care to make these types of sweeping changes, Dr. Pearl turns to patients to become a driving force for transformation.

“Mistreated” was written for the patient in all of us,” Dr. Pearl noted. “If we can change some of the erroneous beliefs we all have, we can make real change.”

Dr. Pearl is donating all profits from the book to increase access to health care for people who today can’t obtain it.

For more information, please visit his website:

To learn more about physician leadership in the work to achieve accountable care, and to receive updates on key health care issues, follow CAPP on Twitter at: @accountableDOCS.

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