Reform follows failure: II. Pressure for change in the Lebanese health sector.
This paper describes how, against a background of growing financial crisis, pressure for reform is building up in the Lebanese health care system. It describes the various agendas and influences that played a role. The Ministry of Health, backed by some international organizations, has started taking the lead in a reform that addresses both the way care is delivered and the way it is financed. The paper describes the interventions made to prepare reform. The experience in Lebanon shows that this preparation is a process of muddling through, experimentation and alliance building, rather than the marketing of an overall coherent blueprint. (+info)
Assessing the use of nuclear medicine technology in sub-Saharan Africa: the essential equipment list.
OBJECTIVE: The primary aim of the survey was to determine the core equipment required in a nuclear medicine department in public hospitals in Kenya and South Africa, and evaluate the capital investment requirements. METHODS: Physical site audits of equipment and direct interviews of medical and clinical engineering professionals were performed, as well as examination of tender and purchase documents, maintenance payment receipts, and other relevant documents. Originally, 10 public hospitals were selected: 6 referral and 4 teaching hospitals. The 6 referral hospitals were excluded from the survey due to lack of essential documents and records on equipment. The medical and technical staff from these hospitals were, however, interviewed on equipment usage and technical constraints. Data collection was done on-site and counter-checked against documents provided by the hospital administration. RESULTS: A list of essential equipment for a nuclear medicine department in sub-Saharan Africa was identified. Quotations for equipment were provided by all major equipment suppliers, local and international. CONCLUSION: A nuclear medicine department requires eight essential pieces of equipment to operate in sub-Saharan Africa. Two additional items are desirable but not essential. (+info)
Reengineering the picture archiving and communication system (PACS) process for digital imaging networks PACS.
Prior to June 1997, military picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) were planned, procured, and installed with key decisions on the system, equipment, and even funding sources made through a research and development office called Medical Diagnostic Imaging Systems (MDIS). Beginning in June 1997, the Joint Imaging Technology Project Office (JITPO) initiated a collaborative and consultative process for planning and implementing PACS into military treatment facilities through a new Department of Defense (DoD) contract vehicle called digital imaging networks (DIN)-PACS. The JITPO reengineered this process incorporating multiple organizations and politics. The reengineered PACS process administered through the JITPO transformed the decision process and accountability from a single office to a consultative method that increased end-user knowledge, responsibility, and ownership in PACS. The JITPO continues to provide information and services that assist multiple groups and users in rendering PACS planning and implementation decisions. Local site project managers are involved from the outset and this end-user collaboration has made the sometimes difficult transition to PACS an easier and more acceptable process for all involved. Corporately, this process saved DoD sites millions by having PACS plans developed within the government and proposed to vendors second, and then having vendors respond specifically to those plans. The integrity and efficiency of the process have reduced the opportunity for implementing nonstandard systems while sharing resources and reducing wasted government dollars. This presentation will describe the chronology of changes, encountered obstacles, and lessons learned within the reengineering of the PACS process for DIN-PACS. (+info)
Technology assessment and requirements analysis: a process to facilitate decision making in picture archiving and communications system implementation.
In a time of decreasing resources, managers need a tool to manage their resources effectively, support clinical requirements, and replace aging equipment in order to ensure adequate clinical care. To do this successfully, one must be able to perform technology assessment and capital equipment asset management. The lack of a commercial system that adequately performed technology needs assessment and addressed the unique needs of the military led to the development of an in-house Technology Assessment and Requirements Analysis (TARA) program. The TARA is a tool that provides an unbiased review of clinical operations and the resulting capital equipment requirements for military hospitals. The TARA report allows for the development of acquisition strategies for new equipment, enhances personnel management, and improves and streamlines clinical operations and processes. (+info)
Characteristics of private medical practice in India: a provider perspective.
Supply factors, depicted by input market conditions and government regulations, and demand factors, depicted by financing mechanisms and utilization patterns, are likely to determine the shape and character of private medical practice. The interaction of this complex set of factors will have considerable implications for the cost access and quality of services offered by this sector. Understanding these characteristics from a provider perspective is imperative to influence the behaviour of providers in this sector. This paper describes some of the important characteristics of private medical practice using a case study of an urban district in India, Ahmedabad, and analyzes their implications. Using survey data of 130 private doctors in the allopathic system, the paper describes broad characteristics of private medical practice using parameters such as growth of private practice, patient load and referrals within the sector, payment methods and determinants, patient concerns, and risks associated with private practice. The paper presents views on the prevalence of various undesirable practices in the private medical sector. It also discusses the awareness of providers about selected important regulations. The findings suggest that growing capital intensity due to cost of location, medical equipment and technology, and financial sources of capital investments are some unfavourable environmental factors experienced by private providers. The findings also indicate a high prevalence of various undesirable practices and low awareness of the objectives of important legislation among practicing doctors. Lack of awareness of important and relevant legislation raises serious questions about the implementation of these laws. The paper identifies the strong need for instituting and implementing an effective continuing medical education programme for practicing doctors, and linking it with their registration and continuation of their license to practice. The paper also suggests that cost of health care, access and quality problems will worsen with the growth of the private sector. The public policy response to check some of the undesirable consequences of this growth is critical and should focus on strengthening the existing institutional mechanisms to protect patients, developing and implementing an appropriate regulatory framework and strengthening the public health care delivery system. The study also discusses various other policy implications arising. (+info)
Capital finance and ownership conversions in health care.
This paper analyzes the for-profit transformation of health care, with emphasis on Internet start-ups, physician practice management firms, insurance plans, and hospitals at various stages in the industry life cycle. Venture capital, conglomerate diversification, publicly traded equity, convertible bonds, retained earnings, and taxable corporate debt come with forms of financial accountability that are distinct from those inherent in the capital sources available to nonprofit organizations. The pattern of for-profit conversions varies across health sectors, parallel with the relative advantages and disadvantages of for-profit and nonprofit capital sources in those sectors. (+info)
Research capacity in UK primary care.
BACKGROUND: Moves towards a 'primary care-led' National Health Service (NHS) and towards evidence-based care have focused attention upon the need for evaluative research relating to the structure, delivery, and outcome of primary health care in the United Kingdom (UK). This paper describes work carried out to inform the Department of Health Committee on Research and Development (R&D) in Primary Care (Mant Committee). AIM: To describe the extent and nature of current research capacity in primary care in the UK and to identify future needs and priorities. METHOD: Funding data were requested from NHS National Programmes, NHS Executive Regional Offices, the Department of Health (DoH), Scottish Office, Medical Research Council, and some charities. A postal survey was sent to relevant academic departments, and appropriate academic journals were reviewed from 1992 to 1996. In addition, interviews were conducted with academic and professional leaders in primary care. RESULTS: Overall, total annual primary care R&D spend by the NHS and the DoH was found to be 7% of the total spend, although annual primary care R&D spend differs according to funding source. Journals relating to primary care do not, with some notable exceptions (e.g. British Journal of General Practice, Family Practice), have high academic status, and research into primary care by academic departments is, with perhaps the exception of general practice, on a small scale. The research base of most primary care professions is minimal, and significant barriers were identified that will need addressing if research capacity is to be expanded. CONCLUSION: There are strong arguments for the development of primary care research in a 'primary care-led' NHS in the UK. However, dashes for growth or attempts to expand capacity from the present infrastructure must be avoided in favour of endeavours to foster a sustainable, long-term research infrastructure capable of responding meaningfully to identified needs. (+info)
Understanding financing options for PACS implementation. Picture archiving and communication systems.
The acquisition of expensive equipment such as picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) becomes increasingly difficult as capital budgets become tighter. Traditional ownership financing options in the form of direct purchase or financing (loan) have several limitations including technology obsolescence, higher fixed pricing, limited options for equipment disposal, and the need to tie up valuable capital. Alternative financing options, in the form of conventional lease and risk sharing arrangements, offer several theoretical advantages including technology obsolescence protection in the form of built-in upgrades, preservation of borrowing power, multiple end-of-term options, and payment flexibility (which can be directly tied to realized productivity and operational efficiency gains). These options are discussed, with emphasis on the acquisition of PACS. (+info)