Another item that falls in the “shocking, just shocking” category. Research reveals that physicians who have an ownership interest in ambulatory surgical centers tend to do more surgeries at that surgicenter and to send the easier cases there.
EMRs are posited to provide enormous benefits to the health system. The Veteran’s Administration has one of the most comprehensive large EMR installations. An article in Health Affairs provides a very misleading picture of the supposed cost benefits of the system.
The new health law greatly expands Medicaid and government spending. Figuring out how to keep that spending from breaking state budgets will be difficult. A large national health plan company provides suggestions on how to control Medicaid costs.
Electronic medical records are touted as the solution to many health system problems, including improving information sharing. A Center for Studying Health System Change Issue Brief discusses potential benefits and challenges of EMRs in regard to patient/physician communication.
One theory of the consumer-directed health movement has been that educated and motivated patients will make better value-based decisions regarding their health care, helping to reduce overall costs. A recent study published in AJMC supports this theory.
There is an ongoing line of research around regional differences in utilization of and spending on health care. A study published in Circulation surveyed physicians on their practice styles and finds that malpractice fears and peer pressure may account for a significant fraction of regional variation.
JAMA reports on a study of trends in back surgery for older patients. Rates for a complex form of this surgery have grown very rapidly, along with complications and costs; raising questions about whether the growth is due to physician preference or to truly informed patient choice.
A commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine reminds us that health care has been a major contributor to the federal deficit and consequently the national debt and that it is likely to continue to add to our financial woes, notwithstanding the recent health act.
States that supposedly led the way on health care reform are finding out it was the bleeding edge that they were on. Insurers are always the easy target, but bashing them won’t solve the underlying cost problem. If the federal bill actually is implemented, the experience of these states will likely be replicated nationally.