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Is the Rate of Health Care Cost Growth Any Better in Denmark

100 Percent of Primary Care Doctors in Denmark Use Electronic Medical Records, Study Finds

 All primary care doctors in Denmark use electronic medical records and 98 percent have the ability to electronically manage patient care—including ordering prescriptions, drafting notes about patient visits, and sending appointment reminders. In addition, almost all medical communication between primary care doctors, specialists, and hospitals is electronic, according to a new Commonwealth Fund profile of the Danish health care system. Ramping up the use of health information technology (HIT) tools like electronic medical records (EMRs) in the United States, where currently only 46 percent of physicians use EMRs, is an important part of the recent stimulus bill and the health care reform currently being debated on Capitol Hill. According to Denis Protti and Ib Johansen, authors of the report, much could be learned from the Danish system, where HIT use among primary care doctors soared from 15 percent in the early 1990s to more than 90 percent by the year 2000. “Denmark continues to work vigorously toward an efficient, patient-centered health care system and has strategically employed health information technology to help achieve that goal,” said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. “The Commonwealth Fund’s international health care surveys have consistently shown us that the United States lags behind when it comes to health information technology. However, the promotion of health information technology in the recent stimulus bill and current health reform bills are an encouraging sign. These efforts, combined with some of the best ideas from Denmark’s success—a coherent national policy, financial incentives to adopt technologies, and technical support for providers—could go a long way toward moving this country to a high performance health care system.”


March 12, 2010 Posted by | Cost, health information technology, healthcare, innovation | , , , | Leave a comment

John Goodman, Ken Thorpe, Uwe Rheinhardt

Editor’s note: a terrific piece by John Goodman with comments by some of the greatest minds in health care policy – debating some of the most salient points.


Writing in Health AffairsKen Thorpe and his colleagues offer a description of the current phase of the problem:

Medicare beneficiaries’ medical needs, and where beneficiaries undergo treatment, have changed dramatically over the past two decades. Twenty years ago, most spending growth was linked to intensive inpatient (hospital) services, chiefly for heart disease. Recently, much of the growth has been attributable to chronic conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, and kidney disease. These conditions are chiefly treated not in hospitals but in outpatient settings and by patients at home with prescription drugs.

So how are we dealing with this challenge? Poorly.

Now read more and the various rebuttals…at:

March 10, 2010 Posted by | Chronic conditions, healthcare, innovation, insurance | , , , | Leave a comment

The Value of Retail Clinics

Time, money are factors in decision to use retail clinics
A survey found that people would rather see their primary care provider but if that is not possible they are likely to use a retail-based clinic. People were willing to see a nurse practitioner at a retail clinic if they could save at least $31.42 and would wait a day or more to do so if they could save at least $82.12. Los Angeles Times/Booster Shots blog (3/8)

March 10, 2010 Posted by | healthcare, innovation | , , , , | Leave a comment

Gawande: More facilities should use checklists

Medicine is so complex that even the smartest physicians can’t remember everything and should use a checklist to ensure proper patient care, says Harvard Medical School surgeon Dr. Atul Gawande. Author of “The Checklist Manifesto,” Gawande says the checklist gets the “dumb stuff out of the way” so a medical team can focus on more important tasks. USA TODAY (1/26)

February 10, 2010 Posted by | Creative disruption, healthcare, hospitals, innovation, quality | , , | Leave a comment

New York health system says retail clinics are a success

Continuum Health Partners said its two-year agreement to staff walk-in clinics at Duane Reade pharmacies in New York City with its own physicians has been more successful than expected. The health system, which plans to add 20 more locations in the next year or so, sees “downstream revenue” when patients seek follow-up care with its physicians and hospitals. Crain’s New York Business

February 10, 2010 Posted by | healthcare, innovation, physicians, quality | , , , , | Leave a comment

Your Health: Pharmacists Adjust to Changing Roles

USA Today
Kim Painter

January 25, 2010

More than 20% of prescription drug sales were fulfilled through mail order in 2008 leaving some to wonder what the future holds for pharmacists.

While some studies and pilot programs show that pharmacists can be successful as medication coaches for some patients, other studies show that patients using mail order run out of their prescriptions less often.

For complete story, click here.

January 25, 2010 Posted by | drugs, healthcare, innovation | , , , | Leave a comment

Reimbursement and Shortages Will Drive Innovation

Editor’s note: This will continue to increase the pressure on technology and other systemic innovations to drive lower value elements of primary care to self care, leaving the more complex issues for the physicians.

Fewer rural Arizona physicians see new Medicare patients
Fewer physicians in rural Arizona are accepting new Medicare patients, forcing seniors to go to hospital emergency rooms or local urgent care clinics for care. Physicians say Medicare reimbursements are too low and there is too much government red tape. The Arizona Republic (Phoenix)

January 25, 2010 Posted by | healthcare, innovation, physicians | , , , | Leave a comment