Vital Directions for Health and Health Care

A Policy Initiative of the National Academy of Medicine

After the passage of the Affordable Care Act, health reform entered a critical new phase. The health system has been strained by increasing demand and unsustainable costs. Too often, care decisions do not align with patient goals or evidence of effectiveness, and Americans experience untenable disparities in health and access to care. At the same time, new technologies and big data are spurring advances in medical science and the practice of care, including precision medicine. Patients are increasingly empowered to take an active role in their health, and community innovators are designing new models that could revolutionize the delivery of care. Increasing emphasis is placed on population health, wellness and prevention. These are the unprecedented challenges — and extraordinary opportunities — the current and future presidential administrations must weigh as the next steps for health reform in the United States are moved forward.

Vital Directions for Health and Health Care: The North Carolina Experience

A 2019 symposium, held in Durham, North Carolina, provided a platform for understanding the status of health and health care at the state level within the context of the NAM Vital Directions initiative. 

About the Initiative – Priorities for 2016

Guided by an 18-member steering committee, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) called on more than 150 leading researchers, scientists, and policy makers from across the United States to provide expert guidance on 19 priority issues for U.S. health policy. The resulting collection of discussion papers is organized around three overarching goals for the United States: better health and well-being; high-value health care; and strong science and technology.

Disclaimer: The purpose of the Vital Directions for Health & Health Care initiative is to compile expert information and guidance about important directions for health and health care in the United States. The views presented in this discussion paper series are those of the authors and do not represent formal consensus positions of the NAM, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, or the authors’ organizations.

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