(1/19) Using technology assessment as the picture archiving and communication system spreads outside radiology to the enterprise.

Picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) are being implemented within radiology departments, and many facilities are entering the next stage of PACS use by deploying PACS to departments outside of radiology and to other facilities located at a distance. Many PACS vendors and department administrators have based cost-justification analyses on the anticipated savings from expanding PACS to these areas. However, many of these cost-savings analyses can be highly suspect in their assumptions and findings. Technology assessment (TA) at the hospital/health system level is an organized, systematic approach to examining the efficacy of a technology in relation to the health system's mission and clinical needs. It can be an organized and unifying approach to aid in the distribution of limited capital resources. As extra-radiology PACS deployment is a costly endeavor, TA may be used to plan for PACS implementation throughout the enterprise. In many organizations, PACS is thought of as a radiology domain as its first uses were centered on this image-producing service. Now, as PACS technology spreads to other service areas, such as cardiology, dermatology, pathology, orthopedics, obstetrics, etc, the need to incorporate other viewpoints in a system-based PACS is necessary to avoid having independent PACS that may duplicate archives and may not communicate with each other. How to meet the diverse PACS needs of clinical services can be a challenging task; a TA program has been demonstrated to effectively handle the clinical needs, demands, and timeframes of PACS planning and support throughout hospitals and health systems. A hospital-based TA program can assist health care organizations to present PACS as a system-wide need and program rather than a radiology-based program gobbling up the capital budget. Submitting PACS to the TA review process can identify essential elements in planning and help avoid many of the pitfalls of PACS implementation and operations. Thorough cost and/or return on investment analyses, phasing decisions, workflow re-engineering, and outcomes assessment programs are a few of the issues that a TA program can address to help in the transition to a complete electronic image environment. The TA process includes clinician selection, evaluation criteria and their selection for technologies under review, a policy for review/authorization/denial, and measurement of expected outcomes.  (+info)

(2/19) Sharing arrangements in the nonprofit hospital industry.

The major task of this paper is to develop hypotheses about voluntary sharing arrangements (SAs) from a plausible economic analysis of the hospital industry. The second task of the paper is to review some emerging evidence about SAs. Our research suggests that some SAs could or actually do reduce hospital costs to the community. However, there are reasons which indicate that cost reduction is neither a necessary nor a sufficient result for the success of many SAs.  (+info)

(3/19) Surviving a merger: how four hospital libraries created a unified system.

Librarians are acknowledged as leaders in providing information and knowledge management. They recognize the importance of maintaining an awareness of the most cutting-edge information and technology to meet the challenges of new business practices and changes that inevitably occur. Working as a team, the AHS librarians have achieved a level of communication and cooperation that is an example to other departments in the system. The success of the merged libraries has created new opportunities for leadership and growth and an optimistic future.  (+info)

(4/19) The cost effectiveness of a nurse-led shared-care prostate assessment clinic.

OBJECTIVE: Nurse-led prostate clinics (NPCs) have proved to be a highly effective method of assessing patients with lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) and most urology units now run such clinics. However, it was not known whether they are cost-effective and this analysis ansWers that question. PATIENTS AND METHODS: During one year, a trained urology nurse assessed 1,080 patients in our NPC following GP referral using a standard pro forma. Costs included those incurred for the salary of a grade D nurse at 30 min per patient, all investigations, indirect charges and overheads. This was compared to the cost of seeing all patients in clinic directly, either by a consultant, staff grade urologist or registrar. Of these 1,080 patients, 350 were sent back to their GPs after NPC assessment. RESULTS: The NPC cost of 44.25 pounds per patient compared favourably with an average medical out-patient clinic cost of 50.46 pounds per patient, yielding an actual annual saving of 6,706.80 pounds. Since a third of the patients assessed in the NPC were sent directly back to primary care, saving the cost of a medical follow-up appointment, the true savings in secondary care were 17,661.00 pounds (50.46 x 350pounds), giving a total annual saving of 24,367.80 pounds. CONCLUSIONS: A nurse-led shared-care prostate clinic is a cost effective, thorough and speedy method of assessing men presenting with suspected bladder outflow obstruction. The approach used has a wider generic, cost-benefit potential for the NHS.  (+info)

(5/19) Critical issues in hospital antitrust law.

Antitrust litigation involving hospitals is common. This paper describes recent developments and underlying issues in antitrust law with respect to hospital-hospital relations, hospital-physician relations, and hospital-payer relations. A key unanswered question in each of these areas is how government regulation and public purchasing affect competitive markets for hospital services.  (+info)

(6/19) Shared care with task delegation to nurses for type 2 diabetes: prospective observational study.

BACKGROUND: To study the effects of two different structured shared care interventions, tailored to local needs and resources, in an unselected patient population with type 2 diabetes mellitus. METHODS: A three-year prospective observational study of two interventions and standard care. The interventions involved extensive (A) or limited (B) task delegation from general practitioners to hospital-liaised nurses specialised in diabetes and included a diabetes register, structured recall, facilitated generalist-specialist communication, audit and feedback, patient-specific reminders, and emphasised patient education. The target population consisted of 2660 patients with type 2 diabetes treated in the primary care setting. Patients who were terminally ill or who had been diagnosed with dementia were excluded from the study. RESULTS: The participation rates were high (90%) for patients, and none of the 64 GPs discontinued their participation in the study. Longitudinal analyses showed significant improvements in quality indicators for both intervention groups (process parameters and achieved target values on the individual patient level); in standard care, performance remained stable or deteriorated. Both patients and caregivers appeared satisfied with the project. CONCLUSION: This study shows that structured shared care with task delegation to nurses, targeted at a large unselected general practice population, is feasible and can positively affect the quality of care for patients with type 2 diabetes.  (+info)

(7/19) Reduced risk of surgical site infections through surveillance in a network.

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the effect of multicentre surveillance for nosocomial infections on patients' risk of surgical site infection (SSI). DESIGN: Prospective multi-centre cohort study, from January 1996 to December 2000. SETTING: Acute care hospitals in The Netherlands. STUDY PARTICIPANTS: All 50 hospitals performing surveillance for one of seven selected procedures in the Dutch surveillance network for nosocomial infections PREZIES were invited. Thirty-seven hospitals participated (74%) and provided information on 21 920 operations, after which 885 (4%) SSI occurred. INTERVENTIONS: The surveillance comprised the following: Development of surveillance methodology by multidisciplinary team; use of a standardized registration protocol and software; regular training of data collectors; anonymous inter-hospital comparison of infection rates and feedback of results; appointment of one contact person per hospital, responsible for data collection; and dissemination of results to other health care professionals. Regular discussion of both successful and failing prevention strategies that had been instituted based on the surveillance results. OUTCOME MEASURE: Risk of SSI. RESULTS: The risk of infection was reduced for patients who had an operation during the fourth surveillance year (RR = 0.69; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.52-0.89) and decreased further for patients operated on during the fifth surveillance year (RR = 0.43; CI = 0.24-0.76) as compared with patients who underwent surgery within one year of the start of surveillance in their hospital. No significant risk reduction was observed for patients operated on during the second and third surveillance years. CONCLUSION: Surveillance, supported by participation in a surveillance network, reduced the risk of SSI in surgical patients registered in the Dutch surveillance network PREZIES. Our results suggest that infection control teams need to be perseverant and that surveillance programmes should be given time before evaluation.  (+info)

(8/19) Advancing health system integration through supply chain improvement.

Collaboration is a key element to success in the provision of sustainable and integrated healthcare services. Among the many initiatives undertaken to improve service quality and reduce costs, collaboration among hospitals in Ontario has been difficult to achieve; however, voluntary collaboration is vital to achieving transformation of the magnitude envisioned by system leaders.  (+info)