There are two interesting articles worth a quick read on the subjects of health care reform and health IT reform. As a refresher, health care reform passed earlier this year after intense debates and interesting legislative tactics. Health IT Reform passed as part of the Stimulus bill over a year ago and is known as HITECH.
First, the health care reform related article is entitled Cash for Doctors. The article highlights Dr. Brian Forrest’s practice in North Carolina, Access Healthcare. What is unique about his approach is that he accepts no insurance, and he has a published price list for the services he offers. Patients can see exactly what the service or test will cost. Dr. Forrest has negotiated lab test costs directly with labs, which are lower than what the insurance company has in place. All is paid by the patients immediately, no waiting for insurance processing, etc.
Consideration point: Health care reform has turned into a complex maze which will be costly and still has an enormous amount of unknowns. Dr. Forrest’s approach is simple, straightforward, with no hidden costs or agendas. Maybe there should have been more time during the legislative process to explore ways to simplify health care.
Second, in a Dallas Morning News article entitled Hospitals Criticized over Offers to Earn or Save Money by Sharing Electronic Patient Data, it highlights the concern over patient data privacy. Although there are significant penalties and other restrictions now in place, there are concerns on whether too much patient information would be transferred to various physicians and clinicians. Additionally, unidentified patient data is being sold to drug companies as another way for health care providers to make money. This raises concerns as well. This article outlines some of the practices and unease as we enter a highly electronic patient information era.
Consideration point: Maybe the model is somewhat backwards. All patient information should be sent electronically to a Personal Health Record, and the individual decides who gets what information. Additionally, if they want to sell their data to drug companies, let the individuals make that decision. This places more responsibility on the patient in the flow and privacy of their own data.
Two interesting articles on health care reform and health IT reform… It is worth spending a few minutes reading both to consider impacts and unique ways to accomplish improved healthcare delivery objectives.
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