HealthcarePapers 15(3) January 2016 : 25-30.doi:10.12927/hcpap.2016.24470
Taking Triple Aim

Taking Triple Aim at the Triple Aim

Stirling Bryan and Cam Donaldson


Since its introduction to the USA, the Triple Aim is now being adopted in the healthcare systems of other advanced economies. Verma and Bhatia (2016) (V&B) argue that provincial governments in Canada now need to step up to the plate and lead on the implementation of a Triple Aim reform program here. Their proposals are wide ranging and ambitious, looking for governments to act as the “integrators” within the healthcare system, and lead the reforms. Our view is that, as a vision and set of goals for the healthcare system, the Triple Aim is all well and good, but as a pathway for system reform, as articulated by V&B, it misses the mark in at least three important respects. First, the emphasis on improvement driven by performance measurement and pay-for-performance is troubling and flies in the face of emerging evidence. Second, we know that scarcity can be recognized and managed, even in politically complex systems, and so we urge the Triple Aim proponents to embrace more fully notions of resource stewardship. Third, if we want to take seriously “population health” goals, we need to think very differently and consider broader health determinants; Triple Aim innovation targeted at healthcare systems will not deliver the goals. 



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