(1/167) Margaret E. Mahoney Symposium on the State of the Nation's Health: questions from the audience.

The Symposium convened in the afternoon of March 22, 1995. Before a mid-afternoon pause in the proceedings, a question-and-answer session was held. An edited summary of that session follows.  (+info)

(2/167) The relationship and tensions between vertical integrated delivery systems and horizontal specialty networks.

This activity is designated for physicians, medical directors, and healthcare policy makers. GOAL: To clarify the issues involved with the integration of single-specialty networks into vertical integrated healthcare delivery systems. OBJECTIVES: 1. Recognize the advantages that single-specialty networks offer under capitated medical care. 2. Understand the self-interests and tensions involved in integrating these networks into vertical networks of primary care physicians, hospitals, and associated specialists. 3. Understand the rationale of "stacking" horizontal networks within a vertical system.  (+info)

(3/167) Costs, true costs, and whose costs in economic analyses in medicine?

Cost-effectiveness analyses of clinical practices are becoming more common in the development of health policy. However, such analyses can be based on misconceptions and flawed assumptions, leading to flawed policies. We argue that such is the case with the recent recommendations for routine measurement of umbilical cord gases at delivery, a policy based on the assumption that this clinical strategy will pay for itself by reduced malpractice awards. As we demonstrate, this argument reflects the physician's perspective, not that of society or of patients. It also ignores the fact that malpractice awards are largely transfer payments, not cost of healthcare.  (+info)

(4/167) Differences in resource use and costs of primary care in a large HMO according to physician specialty.

OBJECTIVE: To determine if primary care physician specialty is associated with differences in use of health services. DATA SOURCES: Automated outpatient diagnostic, utilization, and cost data on 15,223 members (35-85 years of age) of a large group model HMO. STUDY DESIGN: One-year prospective comparison of primary care provided by 245 general internists (GIMs), 60 family physicians (FPs), and 55 subspecialty internists (SIMs) with case-mix assessed during a nine-month baseline period using Ambulatory Diagnostic Groups. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Adjusting for demographics and case mix, patients of GIMs and FPs had similar hospitalization and ambulatory visit rates, and similar laboratory and radiology costs. Patients of FPs made fewer visits to dermatology, psychiatry, and gynecology (combined visit rate ratio: 0.86, 95% CI: 0.74-0.96). However, they made more urgent care visits (rate ratio 1.19, 95% CI: 1.07-1.23). Patients of SIMs had higher hospitalization rates than those of GIMs (rate ratio 1.33, 95% CI: 1.06-1.68), greater use of urgent care (rate ratio: 1.14, 95% CI: 1.04-1.25), and higher costs for pharmacy (cost ratio: 1.17, 95% CI: 0.93-1.18) and radiologic services (cost ratio: 1.14, 95% CI: 1.01-1.30). The hospitalization difference was due partly to the inclusion of patients with specialty-related diagnoses in panels of SIMs. Radiology and pharmacy differences persisted after excluding these patients. CONCLUSIONS: In this uniform practice environment, specialty differences in primary care practice were small. Subspecialists used slightly more resources than generalists. The broader practice style of FPs may have created access problems for their patients.  (+info)

(5/167) The relationship between physician cost and functional status in the elderly.

OBJECTIVE: To explore the relationship between functional status and physician cost (general practitioner/specialist) in an elderly population. DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: A longitudinal study involving 328 patients aged 65 years or over admitted to medical and surgical wards of a Sydney metropolitan hospital over a 10-month period. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Two predictive cost models were developed using multiple linear regression analyses. Nine predictors were modelled including functional status (Short Form 36; SF-36) and major diagnostic categories. These models were then applied to the Australian SF-36 norms to produce a profile of cost by level of functioning. RESULTS: After adjusting for potential confounders, five variables were found to be predictive of general practitioner cost at a 5% significance level. Females and age were positively associated, whereas case note mention of post-discharge services and high SF-36 vitality and role emotional scores were negatively predictive. For specialist cost, five variables were statistically significant. The SF-36 domains of physical functioning and mental health were positively associated. Higher vitality, role emotional scores and case note mention of post-discharge services were negatively associated. CONCLUSIONS: Cost models can be used to highlight the differences between general practitioner and specialist attendances, guide future physician care of the aged, and facilitate informed decision making.  (+info)

(6/167) Comparison of debrisoquine and guanethidine in treatment of hypertension.

A cross-over trail of debrisoquine and guanethidine in 32 patients showed that both drugs were equally effective in lowering both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The degree to which they were tolerated by the patients, however, differed greatly. After three months on each drug 18 patients preferred debrisoquine, nine preferred guanethidine, and five showed no particular preference. At current prices the cost of daily treatment to the patient was cheaper with debrisoquine than with guanethidine.  (+info)

(7/167) Cost of primary health care services in the emergency department and the family physician's office.

An attempt has been made to determine the true cost of providing primary health care for nontraumatic conditions in the emergency departments of two hospitals in Ontario and in the offices of family physicians. A total of 1117 patients presenting with 1 of 10 common symptom/sign complexes at the emergency departments or the offices of 15 participating family physicians were studies with regard to number of visits made, type of assessment by the physician, investigations undertaken, management, therapy and outcome of the illness. Costs were calculated from the charges that would be made against the provincial health services insurance plan and from the system of hospital financing in effect in the province. The average true cost per illness episode of this type of care was $14.63 in hospital A, $14.20 in hospital B and $15.90 in the family physician's office.  (+info)

(8/167) The economics of 'more research is needed'.

BACKGROUND: Results from epidemiology and other health research affect millions of life-years and billions of dollars, and the research directly consumes millions of dollars. Yet we do little to assess the value of research projects for future policy, even amid the ubiquitous assertions that 'more research is necessary' on a given topic. This methodological proposal outlines the arguments for why and how ex ante assessments can inform us about the value of a particular piece of further research on a topic. METHODS: Economics and decision theory concepts-cost-benefit analysis and probability-weighted predictions of outcomes-allow us to calculate the payoff from applied health research based on resulting decisions. Starting with our probability distribution for the parameters of interest, a Monte Carlo simulation generates the distribution of outcomes from a particular new study. Each true value and outcome are associated with a policy decision, and improved decisions are valued to give us the study's contribution as applied research. RESULTS: The analysis demonstrates how to calculate the expected value of further research, for a simplified case, and assess whether it is really warranted. Perhaps more important, it points out what the measure of the value of a further study ought to be. CONCLUSIONS: It is quite possible to improve our technology for assessing the value of particular pieces of further research on a topic. However, this will only happen if the need and possibility are recognized by methodologists and applied researchers.  (+info)