Keeping health care affordable

Aurora Health Care has always believed that integrated care and high quality lowers overall health care costs. Two 2010 studies confirm this link.

Data from the Benefits Services Group 2010 report show the cost of health care in Milwaukee is moving in the right direction and is much closer to the Midwest Average than in the past.

Milwaukee's health care costs fell five percent in 2009. Much of the improvement was due to improved physician performance. Those costs fell to 1.5 percent below the Midwest average, compared to being 17 percent higher than the average in 2007.

midwest average graph

Physician efficiency improvements can be tied to integrated care. At Aurora, coordinated care provides physicians with tools to increase efficiency. For example, they have access to patients' lab results through an electronic health record system, so they can avoid repeating labs or imaging tests. Savings also can be generated from physician efforts to promote wellness and prevention, as well as physician adherence to best practice standards.

The Benefits Services Group and HCT Trends also released a study on hospital costs in the Milwaukee area. This hospital efficiency study compared what it costs to receive care from a health system on a per-member-per-month basis. The study reviewed hospital data from 2007 through 2009 and found that Aurora Health Care costs were two percent below the community average.

Looking forward, as we continue to focus on prevention and wellness care, such as cancer screenings and diabetic monitoring, we expect Aurora's per-member-per-month costs will continue to drop.