Medical technology and inequity in health care: the case of Korea.
There has been a rapid influx of high cost medical technologies into the Korean hospital market. This has raised concerns about the changes it will bring for the Korean health care sector. Some have questioned whether this diffusion will necessarily have positive effects on the health of the overall population. Some perverse effects of uncontrolled diffusion of technologies have been hinted in recent literature. For example, there is a problem of increasing inequity with the adoption of expensive technologies. Utilization of most of the expensive high technology services is not covered by national health insurance schemes; examples of such technologies are Ultra Sonic, CT Scanner, MRI, Radiotherapy, EKG, and Lithotripter. As a result, the rich can afford expensive high technology services while the poor cannot. This produces a gradual evolution of classes in health service utilization. This study examines how health service utilization among different income groups is affected by the import of high technologies. It discusses changes made within the health care system, and explains the circumstances under which the rapid and excessive diffusion of medical technologies occurred in the hospital sector. (+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)
Achieving 'best practice' in health promotion: improving the fit between research and practice.
This paper is based on the proposition that transfer of knowledge between researchers and practitioners concerning effective health promotion interventions is less than optimal. It considers how evidence concerning effectiveness in health promotion is established through research, and how such evidence is applied by practitioners and policy makers in deciding what to do and what to fund when addressing public health problems. From this examination it is concluded that there are too few rewards for researchers which encourage research with potential for widespread application and systematic development of promising interventions to a stage of field dissemination. Alternatively, practitioners often find themselves in the position of tackling a public health problem where evidence of efficacy is either lacking, or has to be considered alongside a desire to respond to expressed community needs, or the need to respond to political imperative. Several different approaches to improving the fit between research and practice are proposed, and they include improved education and training for practitioners, outcomes focussed program planning, and a more structured approach to rewarding research development and dissemination. (+info)
Theoretical framework for implementing a managed care curriculum for continuing medical education--Part I.
Healthcare reform has created a new working environment for practicing physicians, as economic issues have become inseparably intertwined with clinical practice. Although physicians have recognized this change, and some are returning to school for formal education in business and healthcare administration, formal education may not be practical or desirable for the majority of practicing physicians. Other curriculum models to meet the needs of these professionals should be considered, particularly given the growing interest in continuing education for physicians in the areas of managed care and related aspects of practice management. Currently, no theory-based models for implementing a managed care curriculum specifically for working physicians have been developed. This paper will integrate diffusion theory, instructional systems design theory, and learning theory as they apply to the implementation of a managed care curriculum for continuing medical education. Through integration of theory with practical application, a CME curriculum for practicing physicians can be both innovative as well as effective. This integration offers the benefit of educational programs within the context of realistic situations that physicians can apply to their own work settings. (+info)
Empiric examination of physician behavior in a changing healthcare market.
We hypothesized that, in the current healthcare environment, medical providers have strong economic incentives to introduce new technology and treat patients more extensively. We examined physician reimbursement for medical procedures in Utah in the early 1990s, a period of increasing utilization of managed care methods, using a cross-section time series and a supply side model to analyze how physician behavior changed during this period of time. Our findings suggest that physicians have acted to maintain their revenue by requesting reimbursement for more procedures as the reimbursement level per procedure decreased. We conclude that increased volatility in reimbursement levels and increased adjudication pressure from payers provide signals to physicians to act strategically to protect their revenue stream. (+info)
A tale of two (or more) cities: geographic transferability of pharmacoeconomic data.
The economic evaluation of a new medicine often must be based on data gathered in multiple countries. Because replication of trials is an expensive and inefficient undertaking, analysts need to determine the validity of transferring cost-effectiveness data from one country to another. Threats to transferring data involve differences among countries with regard to demography and epidemiology of disease, clinical practice and conventions, incentives to and regulation of healthcare providers, relative price levels, consumer preferences, and opportunity cost of resources. Because of these differences, a drug can be cost-effective in one country and not cost-effective in another. Adapting a cost-effectiveness study conducted in one country to another country requires careful scrutiny of the relevance of comparators, practice patterns, and relative price weights. (+info)
Does competition by health maintenance organizations affect the adoption of cost-containment measures by fee-for-service plans?
How groups insured by fee-for-service health plans react to increased competition from health maintenance organizations (HMOs) is an unresolved question. We investigated whether groups insured by indemnity plans respond to HMO market competition by changing selected health insurance features, such as deductible amounts, stop loss levels, and coinsurance rates, or by adopting utilization management or preferred provider organization (PPO) benefit options. We collected benefit design data for the years 1985 through 1992 from 95 insured groups in 62 US metropolitan statistical areas. Multivariate hazard analysis showed that groups located in markets with higher rates of change in HMO enrollment were less likely to increase deductibles or stop loss levels. Groups located in markets with higher HMO enrollment were more likely to adopt utilization management or PPO benefit options. A group located in a market with an HMO penetration rate of 20% was 65% more likely to have included a PPO option as part of its insurance benefit plan than a group located in a market with an HMO penetration rate of 15% (p < 0.05). Concern about possible adverse selection effects may deter some fee-for-service groups from changing their health insurance coverage. Under some conditions, however, groups insured under fee-for-service plans do respond to managed care competition by changing their insurance benefits to achieve greater cost containment. (+info)
Clinical practice guidelines in end-stage renal disease: a strategy for implementation.
Clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) for end-stage renal failure (ESRD) were recently published, and represent a comprehensive review of available literature and the considered judgment of experts in ESRD. To prioritize and implement these guidelines, the evidence underlying each guideline should be ranked and the attributes of each should be defined. Strategies to improve practice patterns should be tested. Focused information for each high priority guideline should be disseminated, including a synopsis and assessment of the underlying evidence, the evidence model used to develop that guideline, and suggested strategies for CPG implementation. Clinical performance measures should be developed and used to measure current practice, and the success of changing practice patterns on clinical outcomes. Individual practitioners and dialysis facilities should be encouraged to utilize continuous quality improvement techniques to put the guidelines into effect. Local implementation should proceed at the same time as a national project to convert high priority CPGs into clinical performance measures proceeds. Patients and patient care organizations should participate in this process, and professional organizations must make a strong commitment to educate clinicians in the methodology of CPG and performance measure development and the techniques of continuous quality improvement. Health care regulators should understand that CPGs are not standards, but are statements that assist practitioners and patients in making decisions. (+info)