The costs of hospital services: a case study of Evangelical Lutheran Church hospitals in Tanzania.
The health care systems of many developing countries are facing a severe crisis. Problems of financing services leads to high patient fees which make institutions of Western health care unaffordable for the majority of the rural poor. The conflict between sustainability and affordability of the official health care system challenges both local decision-makers and health management consultants. Decisions must be made soon so that the existing health care systems can survive. However, these decisions must be based on sound data, especially on the costs of health care services. The existing accounting systems of most hospitals in developing countries do not provide decision-makers with these data. Costs are generally underestimated. The leadership of the 16 hospitals of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania is currently analyzing how the existing health care services should be restructured. Therefore, reliable estimates of the costs of hospitals services are required. A survey on 'Costing of health services of the Evang. Luth. Church in Tanzania' was prepared, which summarizes the results of seven months of field investigations in Lutheran hospitals. The major findings are that the costs of providing adequate services are much higher than expected. The most important factors determining these costs are the administrative efficiency of the hospital and the scope of services offered. The paper closes with some recommendations on how to improve the services in order to make them both affordable for the rural poor and financially sustainable for the Church. It is concluded that even the best improvement of technical efficiency will not safeguard the survival of the hospital-based health care services of the Lutheran Church in Tanzania. These findings call for a reallocation of health care resources to lower levels of the health care pyramid. (+info)
Hospitals sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church: separate, equal, and distinct?
For centuries, the Catholic Church has been a major social actor in the provision of health services, particularly health care delivered in hospitals. Through a confluence of powerful environmental forces at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the future of Catholic health care is threatened. Although Catholic hospitals are a separate case of private, nonprofit hospitals, they have experienced environmental pressures to become isomorphic with other hospital ownership types and, on some dimensions, they are equal. To keep pace with the changing demands of religion and the social role of the hospital, Catholic hospitals continue to redefine themselves. To justify a distinct and legitimate social role, more research should be conducted to develop and measure indicators of Catholic identity. (+info)
Informed consent for emergency contraception: variability in hospital care of rape victims.
There is growing concern that rape victims are not provided with emergency contraceptives in many hospital emergency rooms, particularly in Catholic hospitals. In a small pilot study, we examined policies and practices relating to providing information, prescriptions, and pregnancy prophylaxis in emergency rooms. We held structured telephone interviews with emergency department personnel in 58 large urban hospitals, including 28 Catholic hospitals, from across the United States. Our results showed that some Catholic hospitals have policies that prohibit the discussion of emergency contraceptives with rape victims, and in some of these hospitals, a victim would learn about the treatment only by asking. Such policies and practices are contrary to Catholic teaching. More seriously, they undermine a victim's right to information about her treatment options and jeopardize physicians' fiduciary responsibility to act in their patients' best interests. We suggest that institutions must reevaluate their restrictive policies. If they fail to do so, we believe that state legislation requiring hospitals to meet the standard of care for treatment of rape victims is appropriate. (+info)
Implementation of WHO guidelines on management of severe malnutrition in hospitals in Africa.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the problems, benefits, feasibility, and sustainability of implementation of WHO guidelines on management of severe malnutrition. METHODS: A postal survey invited staff from 12 African hospitals to participate in the study. Five hospitals were evaluated and two were selected to take part in the study: a district hospital in South Africa and a mission hospital in Ghana. At an initial visit, an experienced paediatrician reviewed the situation in the hospitals and introduced the principles of the guidelines through a participatory approach. During a second visit about six months later, the paediatrician reviewed the feasibility and sustainability of the introduced changes and helped find solutions to problems. At a final visit after one year, the paediatrician reassessed the overall situation. FINDINGS: Malnutrition management practices improved at both hospitals. Measures against hypoglycaemia, hypothermia, and infection were strengthened. Early, frequent feeding was established as a routine practice. Some micronutrients for inclusion in the diet were not locally available and needed to be imported. Problems were encountered with monitoring of weight gain and introducing a rehydration solution for malnutrition. CONCLUSION: Implementation of the main principles of the WHO guidelines on severe malnutrition was feasible, affordable, and sustainable at two African hospitals. The guidelines could be improved by including suggestions on how to adapt specific recommendations to local situations. The guidelines are well supported by experience and published reports, but more information is needed about some components and their impact on mortality. (+info)
PalmCIS: a wireless handheld application for satisfying clinician information needs.
Wireless handheld technology provides new ways to deliver and present information. As with any technology, its unique features must be taken into consideration and its applications designed accordingly. In the clinical setting, availability of needed information can be crucial during the decision-making process. Preliminary studies performed at New York Presbyterian Hospital (NYPH) determined that there are inadequate access to information and ineffective communication among clinicians (potential proximal causes of medical errors). In response to these findings, the authors have been developing extensions to their Web-based clinical information system including PalmCIS, an application that provides access to needed patient information via a wireless personal digital assistant (PDA). The focus was on achieving end-to-end security and developing a highly usable system. This report discusses the motivation behind PalmCIS, design and development of the system, and future directions. (+info)
Emergency contraception in emergency departments in Oregon, 2003.
OBJECTIVES: We sought to learn about access to emergency contraception (EC) in Oregon emergency departments, both for women who are rape patients and for women who have had consensual unprotected sexual intercourse ("nonrape patients"). METHODS: We interviewed emergency department staff in 54 of Oregon's 57 licensed emergency departments in February-March 2003 (response rate = 94.7%). RESULTS: Only 61.1% of Oregon emergency departments routinely offered EC to rape patients. Catholic hospitals were as likely as non-Catholic hospitals to routinely offer EC to rape patients. The hospitals most likely to routinely offer EC to rape patients had a written protocol for the care of rape patients that included offering EC (P = .02) and access to staff with specialized sexual assault training (P=.002). For nonrape patients, 46.3% of emergency departments discouraged the prescribing of EC. Catholic hospitals were significantly less likely than non-Catholic hospitals to provide access to EC for nonrape patients (P=.05). CONCLUSIONS: Oregon emergency departments do not routinely offer EC to women who have been raped or to women who have had consensual unprotected sexual intercourse. (+info)
Hospital religious affiliation and emergency contraceptive prescribing practices.
With access to reproductive health care eroding, examination of prescribing of contraception, including emergency contraception (EC), is important. We examined whether working in a family practice affiliated with a religious institution changes the likelihood of a provider prescribing EC. Our survey asked about EC prescribing practices in a range of situations. As predicted, practitioners in non-religiously affiliated practices reported higher rates of prescribing EC than those in religiously affiliated practices. In both cases, however, the practitioners' prescribing patterns were inadequate. (+info)
Using IT to improve quality at NewYork-Presybterian Hospital: a requirements-driven strategic planning process.
At NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, we are committed to the delivery of high quality care. We have implemented a strategic planning process to determine the information technology initiatives that will best help us improve quality. The process began with the creation of a Clinical Quality and IT Committee. The Committee identified 2 high priority goals that would enable demonstrably high quality care: 1) excellence at data warehousing, and 2) optimal use of automated clinical documentation to capture encounter-related quality and safety data. For each high priority goal, a working group was created to develop specific recommendations. The Data Warehousing subgroup has recommended the implementation of an architecture management process and an improved ability for users to get access to aggregate data. The Structured Documentation subgroup is establishing recommendations for a documentation template creation process. The strategic planning process at times is slow, but assures that the organization is focusing on the information technology activities most likely to lead to improved quality. (+info)