Skyrocketing health care costs are burdening our people and our economy, yet health care indicators show how little we are achieving with the money we spend. Federal and state governments, along with public-health experts and policymakers, are proposing a host of new initiatives to find solutions. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is designed to address both the quality and accessibility of health care, while reducing its cost. This article provides an overview of models supported by the Affordable Care Act that address one or more goals of the "Triple Aim": better health care for individuals, better health outcomes in the community, and lower health care costs. The models described below rely on the core principles of primary care: comprehensive, coordinated and continuous primary care; preventive care; and the sophisticated implementation of health information technology designed to promote communication between health care providers, enhance coordination of care, minimize duplication of services, and permit reporting on quality. These models will support better health care and reduced costs for people who access health care services but will not address health outcomes in the community at large. Health care professionals, working in concert with community-based organizations and advocates, must also address conditions that influence health in the broadest sense to truly improve the health of our communities and reduce health care costs.
© 2012 Mount Sinai School of Medicine.