Incorporating quality of life data into managed care formulary decisions: a case study with salmeterol.
Pharmacy and Therapeutics committees of managed care organizations have traditionally developed formularies by limiting the numbers and kinds of pharmaceuticals they purchase, with the goal of cutting costs. These attempts to manage pharmaceutical costs do not take into account the interrelationship of the costs of various components of care; thus, drug costs may decrease, but expenditures for utilization of other resources may increase. Cost-minimization and basic cost-effectiveness studies, on which many prior- authorization and formulary programs are based, only evaluate only the cost of the drug and its effectiveness. However, with the heightened competition in the healthcare market, emphasis is increasingly being laid on patient satisfaction and outcomes. Cost-utility analysis is a potentially superior pharmacoeconomic tool because it evaluate the effect of drug therapy on quality of life; however, data from such analyses are seldom readily available to the committees that evaluate a drug's potential effects on the entire healthcare system. The purpose of this review is to stress the importance of approaching formulary management from a wider perspective and to emphasize that the results of cost-utility studies should be proactively evaluated and incorporated into decisions regarding formularies. This is especially important for symptom-intensive diseases, such as asthma, in which the quality of life can be notably impaired. Cost-utility analyses should be conducted for all newer therapies, such as salmeterol, which are highly effective and which have a positive impact on quality of life, to determine the overall effect on the managed care plan's budget. (+info)
A program to reduce discharge delays in a neonatal intensive care unit.
Our hypothesis was that a program designed to identify the causes of discharge delays would reduce the length of stay in our neonatal intensive care unit. We reviewed every admission from January, 1994, to December, 1995. A discharge delay was defined as any delay not related to illness after the infant was cleared for release. Discharge delays were divided into the following categories: primary healthcare team, organizational, discharge planning, family, monitor related, and other. Potential discharge delays were identified daily according to established criteria. Actual discharge delays were reviewed monthly at a staff meeting attended by representatives of a multidisciplinary team. We identified 116 discharge delays, which accounted for 480 patient days. Eighty-three discharge delays accounted for 302 patient days in 1994, and 33 discharge delays for 178 patient days in 1995. Discharge delays ranged from 1 to 34 days, with an average of 4.1 days added per patient. Infants with discharge delays had a case mix index of 9.32. The average case mix index for the neonatal intensive care unit was 6.25 during 1994 and 5.18 during 1995, an average of 5.71 for the review period. Forty-four percent of infants who had discharge delays had private insurance, 55% had Medicaid, and 1% had self-payment arrangements. Eighty-eight of 116 discharge delays were caused by circumstances beyond the control of the primary care team. An additional 25 of 116 discharge delays were the result of our policy requiring 48 hours free of apnea-bradycardia alarms before discharge. Discharge delays for 1994 cost $226,298 ($749/day). For 1995, discharge delays cost $41,553 ($233/day) for a total cost of $262,431. Total savings in 1995 versus 1994 was $184,745 ($516/day). Despite the low birth weight and relatively severe illnesses of the infants, we believe that a focused team approach and monitoring for potential discharge delays can result in considerable reduction in hospital stay and cost. (+info)
The development and implementation of normal vaginal delivery clinical pathways in a large multihospital health system.
The entire country has become more concerned with healthcare costs due to managed care, capitation risk-based contracts, and the near elimination of the cost-plus reimbursement system. Clinical pathways have become one way to reduce unnecessary resource consumption by reducing provider variance, improving clinical outcomes, and reducing cost. We present here our rationale and process for developing a common clinical pathway for normal vaginal delivery in a large and varied multihospital system. We also discuss how this new pathway is expected to improve quality of care and reduce costs. (+info)
Successful implementation of a comprehensive computer-based patient record system in Kaiser Permanente Northwest: strategy and experience.
Kaiser Permanente Northwest (KPNW) has implemented a computer-based patient record (CPR) system for outpatients. Clinicians at KPNW use this comprehensive CPR to electronically document patient encounters; code diagnoses and procedures; maintain problem lists; order laboratory tests, radiology tests, and prescriptions; and send patient-specific messages and referrals to other medical providers. More than 700 clinicians, representing more than 20 medical and surgical specialties, and 2600 support staff in 31 geographically separate sites use this system as the information foundation of delivery and documentation of health care for KPNW's membership of 430,000. As of May 1998, more than four million visits and two million telephone calls had been processed and documented into the system. More than 5000 outpatient visits are processed and documented each weekday. From an integrated clinical workstation, clinicians also access e-mail, an extensive results-reporting system, and sites on both the internet and KPNW's intranet. This article describes a strategy for and experience with the implementation of a large-scale, comprehensive CPR in an integrated HMO. This information may be useful for persons attempting to implement CPRs in their own institutions. (+info)
Population health management with computerized patient records.
CIGNA Healthcare of Arizona is using a computerized patient record system (EpicCare) for all medical care delivery at two primary care clinics. Use of this technology to improve quality of care for healthy populations and targeted groups of at-risk persons has led to population health management. This paper discusses strategies used in these endeavors. (+info)
Support of quality and business goals by an ambulatory automated medical record system in Kaiser Permanente of Ohio.
Kaiser Permanente of Ohio has developed a Medical Automated Record System (MARS) to address the business and clinical needs of the organization. The system is currently used by 220 physicians and 110 allied health personnel. To support the quality initiatives of the organization, the system has been programmed to generate reminders, at the moment of care, on compliance with clinical guidelines. This article details examples of compliance improvements with guidelines for the use of aspirin in coronary artery disease, use of influenza vaccinations in members older than 64 years of age, and stratification of asthmatic patients into severity levels; it also summarizes other quality improvements. MARS provides a data stream for electronic billing, which saves the organization the cost of manual billing. In addition, this system reduces operating costs, in particular the number of staff needed to deliver charts and the cost of printing forms. Cost-benefit analysis demonstrates that the system can produce savings in excess of maintenance costs. (+info)
Enhancing health programme efficiency: a Cambodian case study.
In 1995, the Cambodian Urban Health Care Association (CUHCA) was set up as facilitator between private health care providers and patients, guaranteeing good quality health care and fair pricing to patients and providing training and logistic support to providers. Providers were engaged on a fee-for-service basis and competition encouraged. CUHCA's objectives followed the same line of thought as the 1993 World Development Report, aiming at influencing the unregulated private health care market through competition mechanisms. But soon after the start of the project the basic problem was recognized to be not the absence of effective government regulation but rather that consumers lack the requisite knowledge to make good choices in the market for health services. CUHCA had not adequately addressed the demand for health services. The original supply-side strategy of improving health services by increasing competition was a failure. In order to improve CUHCA's health programme efficiency the association's objectives were subsequently redefined and its functioning reorganized. CUHCA now tries to educate consumers and provides good quality services so that consumers will be able to act on the basis of their newly acquired knowledge. CUHCA's health centres serve as model clinics for first-line health care. Community educators organize information, education and communication (IEC) activities. Staff help school teachers to improve formal health education in schools and CUHCA assists local leaders in sanitation development. Only full-time personnel are employed, encouraging team spirit and communication with the target population. Salaries are based on team performance. The CUHCA programme demonstrates that, depending on the market situation, health programme models need to address both the supply and the demand for services in order to be efficient. Where consumers lack essential knowledge to make appropriate choices in the health service market, interventions should focus on health education and social marketing and provide models of quality care catering to informed consumer choice. (+info)
Determinants of patient choice of medical provider: a case study in rural China.
This study examines the factors that influence patient choice of medical provider in the three-tier health care system in rural China: village health posts, township health centres, and county (and higher level) hospitals. The model is estimated using a multinomial logit approach applied to a sample of 1877 cases of outpatient treatment from a household survey in Shunyi county of Beijing in 1993. This represents the first effort to identify and quantify the impact of individual factors on patient choice of provider in China. The results show that relative to self-pay patients, Government and Labour Health Insurance beneficiaries are more likely to use county hospitals, while patients covered by the rural Cooperative Medical System (CMS) are more likely to use village-level facilities. In addition, high-income patients are more likely to visit county hospitals than low-income patients. The results also reveal that disease patterns have a significant impact on patient choice of provider, implying that the ongoing process of health transition will lead people to use the higher quality services offered at the county hospitals. We discuss the implications of the results for organizing health care finance and delivery in rural China to achieve efficiency and equity. (+info)