Welfare gains from user charges for government health services.
The World Bank's Financing health services in developing countries emphasizes demand-side issues--highlighting user fees, insurance, and the private sector as tools for strengthening the health sector. That approach is a major departure from the focus on the supply side--public sector spending, costs, management, and efficiency--that has dominated the international health finance agenda for many years. An important set of empirical papers by Paul Gertler and his co-authors coincided with the release of the policy paper. Gertler's work has questioned a policy of greater dependence on user fees by emphasizing the potential welfare costs to consumers of higher fees for medical services. Many health professionals have adopted the jargon of this new approach without understanding the underlying analysis. This article attempts to demystify the debate that has ensued by illustrating economists' idiosyncratic approach to welfare, explaining how the policy paper and Gertler differ, and suggesting alternative approaches to testing the feasibility of the policy paper's prescriptions. (+info)
Are we ignoring population density in health planning? The issues of availability and accessibility.
Availability of health facilities is commonly expressed in terms of the number of persons dependent on one unit. Whether that unit is actually accessible to those persons depends, however, on the population density. Some examples illustrate the precise relationship. A measure of accessibility is obtained by expressing the availability of facilities as 'one unit within x km distance' (for the average--or, preferably, the median--person). This measure is therefore to be preferred. (+info)
Audit in general practice: students and practitioners learning together.
OBJECTIVES: To describe and evaluate the use of medical audit in general practice as an educational activity shared by undergraduate medical students and general practitioners. DESIGN: A descriptive study, evaluated by a questionnaire survey of all participating practices and by results of completed student projects on general practice audit topics during three weeks in the first year of completed projects (1990-1). SETTING: One university department of general practice, collaborating with 18 general practices in contract with Liverpool Family Health Services Authority. PARTICIPANTS: 150 medical students, working in groups of two to six, and the general practitioners with whom they worked in 18 practices. MAIN MEASURES: The nature of topics proposed by practices and chosen by the students; methods of audit used by students; reported effects of the audits on the practices; general practitioners' opinions of the projects' usefulness to the practice. RESULTS: The range of topics was wide, and both quantitative and qualitative methods were used. Fifteen of the 18 questionnaires sent out were completed. Six practices reported that the final project had changed substantially after joint planning with the students. Two thirds (10) attached high value to the audits and were making changes in the delivery of care as a result. CONCLUSIONS: Medical audit "project work" by medical undergraduates is an effective tool for motivating students to learn and can lead to change in the clinical setting in which it occurs. IMPLICATIONS: By meeting the learning needs of both undergraduates and established practitioners audit project work has wider application within medical education. (+info)
Providing good quality diabetes care is complex but achievable. Many aspects of the care do not require high tech medicine but, rather, good organisation. Diabetes is a costly disease, consuming 1500 pounds per diabetic patient per year versus 500 pounds on average for a non-diabetic member of the population in health service costs. Investment now in good quality diabetes care is sound: patients will benefit from a better quality of life associated with a reduced incidence of the complications of diabetes and the direct costs to the health service in treating these complications and the indirect costs to employers will be reduced. Physical and clinical assessments--measurements of blood glucose and glycosylated haemoglobin concentrations, weight, and blood pressure and assessment of eyes, kidneys, feet, and heart--are clearly important, but quality must include consideration of people and their reactions to life and diabetes--a lifelong entanglement--for which much more support should be provided. (+info)
Assessing and planning home-based care for persons with AIDS.
The HIV/AIDS pandemic continues to gather momentum in many developing countries, increasing the already heavy burden on health care facilities. As a result, donors, implementing partners and communities are beginning to create home-based care programmes to provide care for persons with HIV/AIDS. This paper recommends reorienting this home care provision as a service founded in, and coming from, the community rather than the health system. A methodology, in the form of an assessment matrix, is provided to facilitate the assessment of a community's capacity to provide care for people with AIDS. The focus is on rapid assessment methods using, where possible, readily available information to clearly and systematically define current circumstances. The matrix created for a specific community is then used in the development of an action plan with interventions prioritized and tailored to local needs. A case study from a hypothetical developing country, where HIV/AIDS is a significant problem, is used to illustrate the process. (+info)
Childcare needs of female street vendors in Mexico City.
This article reports on strategies developed by female street vendors (vendedoras ambulantes) in Mexico City to ensure the care of their young children in the absence of a specific and operational government policy to fulfil this need. The information concerning child care and health was gathered by a survey of 426 street traders selected by multi-stage random cluster sampling in four of the administrative districts (delegaciones politicas) of Mexico City during 1990. It was found that, as mothers of young children, street vendors most frequently looked after their children personally on the street or left them with other members of the family. Related factors were availability of alternative child care providers in the family, the age of the children and working conditions of the mother. Children who remained on the streets with their mothers suffered more frequently from gastro-intestinal diseases and accidents than the national average. The incidence of acute respiratory diseases, however, was similar in the cases of maternal care in the street and care by family members in another environment. Existing public health measures show a greater concern for the health of food consumers than that of workers in this area. Current public policy seeks to regulate street vending activities and to concentrate traders in ad hoc areas and facilities. Our research results document the need for actions that can contribute to an improvement in the care and health conditions of these young children. (+info)
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)
Influencing physicians: the three critical elements of a successful strategy.
This activity is designed for leaders and managers of healthcare organizations, particularly those involved in the development of physician incentive and physician management programs. GOAL: To describe the challenges inherent in influencing physicians and review the essential elements of any successful strategy for achieving physician support and participation. OBJECTIVES: 1. Describe the reasons why healthcare organizations and medical groups need to influence physicians to be successful. 2. Cite the reasons why it is difficult to influence physicians. 3. Review the current strategies healthcare organizations and medical groups use to influence physicians. 4. Outline the three essential elements of any program designed to influence physicians. (+info)