To improve access without boosting the cost of care, some health-care organizations across the country are experimenting with different models of care, the report finds. One is the use of online consultations for patients who don't require a face-to-face visit.
"Many insurers now are, in fact, engaged in pilots to pay for electronic visits," Chin said.
Another is the growing use of mobile electronic devices to monitor, say, a patient's blood sugar or blood pressure and transmit the results by cell phone to the patient's doctor.
The report also spotlights growth in retail and work-site clinics and notes that some health organizations are exploring a model of care in which a team of health-care providers works collaboratively to address a patient's health-care needs.
But creating a system of care that encourages coordination-of-care will require a shift away from the traditional fee-for-service method of reimbursement, Cassil noted. "How we address payment reform will have everything to do with how the delivery system becomes more efficient."
Read the PricewaterhouseCooper report.
SOURCES: Alwyn Cassil, director, public affairs, Center for Studying Health System Change, Washington, D.C.; Jeffrey Bauer, Ph.D., management consulting partner, Affiliated Computer Services Inc., and leader, health futures practice, ACS Healthcare Solutions, Chicago; David Chin, M.D., principal and leader, Health Research Institute, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Boston; Kaiser Family Foundation, March 2009, Trends in Health Care Costs and Spending; Merritt, Hawkins & Associates, 2009 Survey of Physician Appointment Wait Times; PWC, Jammed access: Widening the front door to healthcare