Marykate Reese
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April 17, 2006

Nation’s Health Leaders View Spiraling Health Care Costs as Industry’s Biggest Challenge, New Survey Finds

Measuring clinical performance identified as top priority for addressing quality of care

WASHINGTON; April 17, 2006 – Top health care executives consider escalating costs their industry’s biggest challenge, according to the results of a survey released today by Accenture (NYSE: ACN) at the 3rd Annual World Health Care Congress.

The survey, conducted in collaboration with Accenture by Harris Interactive, queried more than 130 U.S. health care executives to identify the industry’s top challenges and priorities, and found that rising costs was considered the top challenge, selected by 37 percent of respondents, followed by the need for greater accountability and clinical outcome measurements (19 percent) and the need to improve the quality of patient care (15 percent).

When asked to identify their organizations’ top priorities for addressing the quality of care, the greatest number of respondents (50 percent) cited measuring clinical performance, followed by educating patients (37 percent), investing in clinical information systems (34 percent) and developing disease management programs (34 percent).

"As health care costs continue to increase, industry leaders recognize the importance of addressing the quality of care cost effectively,” said Ken Lacey, global managing partner of Accenture’s Health & Life Sciences practice. "This survey demonstrates how health care leaders can contribute to reducing costs and improving the quality of care by creating a patient-centered approach that emphasizes preventive health programs, improves clinical performance measurement and includes the implementation of new technologies, such as electronic medical records."

When asked to address how three health care stakeholder groups — providers, payers and employers — could mitigate health care cost increases, respondents said:

Finally, when asked to identify the pharmaceutical industry’s most important priority, nearly one-third (30 percent) of respondents said it should be keeping prices at a reasonable level, followed by bringing innovative new drugs to the market (cited by 26 percent).

Methodology
Harris Interactive® conducted the survey online in the United States between February 28 and March 20, 2006. It was completed by 134 registered attendees of the 3rd Annual World Health Care Congress, 40% of whom work for hospitals, physician practices or health insurers. The majority of the respondents hold senior level positions within their own organizations: 20% are Chairman, CEO or President; 13% are in the C-suite (COO, CFO, CHIO, CTO, CMO); 21% (Senior VPs, Executive VPs or VPs); and 33% are Directors. The data are representative of those health care professionals who are registered to attend the conference and who participated in the survey.


About Accenture
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Committed to delivering innovation, Accenture collaborates with its clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With deep industry and business process expertise, broad global resources and a proven track record, Accenture can mobilize the right people, skills, and technologies to help clients improve their performance. With more than 129,000 people in 48 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$15.55 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2005. Its home page is www.accenture.com.

About Harris Interactive®
Harris Interactive Inc. (www.harrisinteractive.com), based in Rochester, New York, is the 13th largest and the fastest-growing market research firm in the world, most widely known for The Harris Poll® and for its pioneering leadership in the online market research industry. Long recognized by its clients for delivering insights that enable confident business decisions, the Company blends the science of innovative research with the art of strategic consulting to deliver knowledge that leads to measurable and enduring value.

Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States, Europe (www.harrisinteractive.com/europe) and Asia offices, its wholly-owned subsidiary Novatris in Paris, France (www.novatris.com), and through an independent global network of affiliate market research companies. EOE M/F/D/V 

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