A comparison of three methods of setting prescribing budgets, using data derived from defined daily dose analyses of historic patterns of use.
BACKGROUND: Prescribing matters (particularly budget setting and research into prescribing variation between doctors) have been handicapped by the absence of credible measures of the volume of drugs prescribed. AIM: To use the defined daily dose (DDD) method to study variation in the volume and cost of drugs prescribed across the seven main British National Formulary (BNF) chapters with a view to comparing different methods of setting prescribing budgets. METHOD: Study of one year of prescribing statistics from all 129 general practices in Lothian, covering 808,059 patients: analyses of prescribing statistics for 1995 to define volume and cost/volume of prescribing for one year for 10 groups of practices defined by the age and deprivation status of their patients, for seven BNF chapters; creation of prescribing budgets for 1996 for each individual practice based on the use of target volume and cost statistics; comparison of 1996 DDD-based budgets with those set using the conventional historical approach; and comparison of DDD-based budgets with budgets set using a capitation-based formula derived from local cost/patient information. RESULTS: The volume of drugs prescribed was affected by the age structure of the practices in BNF Chapters 1 (gastrointestinal), 2 (cardiovascular), and 6 (endocrine), and by deprivation structure for BNF Chapters 3 (respiratory) and 4 (central nervous system). Costs per DDD in the major BNF chapters were largely independent of age, deprivation structure, or fundholding status. Capitation and DDD-based budgets were similar to each other, but both differed substantially from historic budgets. One practice in seven gained or lost more than 100,000 Pounds per annum using DDD or capitation budgets compared with historic budgets. The DDD-based budget, but not the capitation-based budget, can be used to set volume-specific prescribing targets. CONCLUSIONS: DDD-based and capitation-based prescribing budgets can be set using a simple explanatory model and generalizable methods. In this study, both differed substantially from historic budgets. DDD budgets could be created to accommodate new prescribing strategies and raised or lowered to reflect local intentions to alter overall prescribing volume or cost targets. We recommend that future work on setting budgets and researching prescribing variations should be based on DDD statistics. (+info)
Rubella immunisation and contraception--a case for re-examining the policy of the Department of Health and Social Security.
Now that immunisation against rubella is available, it would at first sight seem reasonable to identify all potential mothers susceptible to this disease and immunise them. Preliminary screening, however, carried out in order to restrict vaccination to seronegative subjects, not only serves no useful purpose, but is counter-productive. (+info)
The cost of a general practitioner in the national health service.
This paper estimates the cost to the National Health Service of decisions made by a trainee general practitioner during two consecutive weeks. By extrapolation of the cost of these actions (issuing prescriptions, issuing National Insurance certificates, requesting investigations, and initiating hospital referrals), the annual cost of a general practitioner in the National Health Service is at least pound43,000. (+info)
The just provision of health care: a reply to Elizabeth Telfer.
Dr Hillel Steiner in this reply to Elizabeth Telfer takes each of her arguments for different arrangements of a health service and examines them--'four positions which can be located on a linear ideological spectrum'--and adds a fifth which could have the effect of 'turning the alleged linear spectrum into a circle'. Underlying both Elizabeth Telfer's article and Dr Steiner's reply, the base is inescapably a 'political' one, but cannot be abandoned in favour of purely philosophical concepts. Whatever the attitude of mind of the reader of these two papers to the provision of a health service, the stimulus to more careful assessments of our own National Health Service and its problems can only be good. (+info)
Screening Mammography Program of British Columbia: pattern of use and health care system costs.
BACKGROUND: The use of mammography for screening asymptomatic women has increased dramatically in the past decade. This report describes the changes that have occurred in the use of bilateral mammography in British Columbia since the provincial breast cancer screening program began in 1988. METHODS: Using province-wide databases from both the breast cancer screening program and the provincial health insurance plan in BC, the authors determined the number and costs of bilateral mammography services for women aged 40 years or older between Apr. 1, 1986, and Mar. 31, 1997. Unilateral mammography was excluded because it is used for investigating symptomatic disease and screening abnormalities, and for follow-up of women who have undergone mastectomy for cancer. RESULTS: As the provincial breast cancer screening program expanded from 1 site in 1988 to 23 in 1997, it provided an increasing proportion of the bilateral mammographic examinations carried out each year in BC. In fiscal year 1996/97, 65% of bilateral mammographic examinations were performed through the screening program. The cost per examination within the screening program dropped as volume increased. Thirty percent more bilateral mammography examinations were done in 1996/97 than in 1991/92, but health care system expenditures for these services increased by only 4% during the same period. In calendar year 1996, 21% of new breast cancers were diagnosed as a result of a screening program visit. INTERPRETATION: Substantial increases in health care expenditures have been avoided by shifting bilateral mammography services to the provincial screening program, which has a lower cost per screening visit. (+info)
'Should a mammographic screening programme carry the warning: screening can damage your health!'?
The balanced presentation afforded by convening a Citizens' Jury when considering a major question such as the introduction of a breast screening programme is advocated. This method would enable account to be taken of all the costs, both human and financial, to all those affected, both participating and organizing, as well as the benefits. Provision of such a democratic opportunity enables consideration to be given to a broad range of factors, by selection of an appropriate range of witnesses, with the advantage of involving the lay public in this decision-making process. Attendance by health correspondents, medical journalists and other media representatives enables publicization of a democracy in action whilst helping to inform the wider debate. Such an exercise could inform whether the NHS BSP should continue in its current form. (+info)
Agreeing criteria for audit of the management of induced abortion: an approach by national consensus survey.
OBJECTIVE: To obtain a national consensus view of suggested criteria for good quality care in induced abortion to serve as a basis for standards for audit to assess current clinical practice. DESIGN: Postal, questionnaire survey assessing consensus agreement with criteria identified from a literature review and refined by an invited panel of four gynaecologists and the gynaecology audit project in Scotland (GAPS) committee. SETTING: Scotland. SUBJECTS: All 132 practising consultant gynaecologists. MAIN MEASURES: Overall level of agreement with each of 20 suggested audit criteria. RESULTS: 121 completed questionnaires were received (response rate 92%), of which 119 were returned in time for analysis; 107 came from consultants who practised abortion routinely and were included in the analysis. Nineteen of 20 suggested criteria were validated by an overall balance of agreement. The most strongly supported criterion (agreement score +93) was for ascertaining rhesus status of the woman and prophylaxis after abortion, if indicated. The only criterion to elicit a negative agreement score (-27) was that dilatation and evacuation is the best method of abortion at 12-15 weeks' gestation. The ranked and prioritised criteria resulting from this exercise are being used within a national audit project. CONCLUSIONS: A postal questionnaire survey among interested clinicians resulted in a good response rate and enabled the audit criteria to be validated and ranked more objectively and among more clinicians, than would have been possible by group discussion. (+info)
An audit of distribution and use of guidelines for management of head injury.
Ensuring effective distribution of guidelines is an important step towards their implementation. To examine the effectiveness of dissemination of a guidelines card on management of head injury and determine its usefulness to senior house officers (SHOs), a questionnaire survey was performed in May 1990, after distribution of the cards in induction packs for new doctors and at postgraduate lectures and displaying the guidelines in accident and emergency departments and wards. A further survey, in March 1992, assessed the impact of modifying the distribution. All (175) SHOs working in general surgery, accident and emergency medicine, orthopaedics, and neurosciences on 1 February 1990 in 19 hospitals including two neurosurgical units in Northern region were sent self completion questionnaires about awareness, receipt, use, and perceived usefulness of the guidelines. 131 of 163(80%) SHOs in post responded (median response from hospitals 83% (range 50%-100%)). Over three quarters (103, 79%) of SHOs were aware of the guidelines and 82(63%) had ever possessed a guidelines card. Only 36(44%) acquired the card in the induction pack. 92%(98/107) found them useful and 81% (89/110) referred to them to some extent. Owning and carrying the card and referring to guidelines were associated with departmental encouragement to use the guidelines. Increasing the displays of guidelines in wards and departments and the supply of cards to consultants in accident and emergency medicine as a result of this survey did not increase the number of SHOs who received cards (52/83, 63%), but more (71/83, 86%) were aware of the guidelines. The guidelines were welcomed by SHOs and used in treating patients with head injury, but their distribution requires improvement. Increased use of the guidelines may be achieved by introducing other distribution methods and as a result of encouragement by senior staff. (+info)