Wednesday, May 12, 2004

a bunch of health care shit

i've been sitting on these for awhile, but i thought i'd dump them now that i have a few minutes:
  1. this eweek article talks about the use of telemedicine for at home care of the elderly in a dutch province. the use of telemedicine will be examined in this 3 year pilot program because of the predicted growth of the elderly population.
    the portion of the Dutch population aged 65 years or older will nearly double from 13 percent today to 25 percent by 2020. As a result, collective health care costs are expected to double, too.
    the use of telemedicine is not new, but i found it interesting that countries that have progressive and humanistic health care policies are also being forced to cut costs. the article gives another example of this trend:
    Among services and medications recently scrapped from the standard health care package are the birth control pill and subsidies for home-care patients...
    in case you're wondering, they providers of this service hope to eventually offer it for under US$24/month.

  2. the medical informatics weblog picked up on another eweek article -- this time on wellpoint's eprescription effort. incase you don't know, wellpoint will be the nation's largest healthcare provider after it merges with anthem later this year.
    At no cost to physicians, WellPoint's initiative will offer participating doctors a wireless, handheld electronic prescribing unit, a wireless access point and a one-year subscription to an e-prescribing service, all of which will allow physicians to electronically generate prescriptions. . . Physicians will be able to write prescriptions that can be electronically transmitted to the pharmacy of their choice. Almost 19,000 contracting WellPoint network physicians in California, Georgia, Missouri and Wisconsin have been invited to participate in this program.
    hopefully this system will work out well and diminish the already abhorent death rate due to medical error (according to the agency for healthcare research and quality, approximately 7,000 americans die every year due to medication errors alone).

  3. another post from the medical informatics blog mentions the new 'national health information technology coordinator' position at the department of health and human services, which has been filled by david brailer. the press release from the dhhs goes on to talk about some recent steps taken to further the cause of emr, such as releasing the snomed ontology/taxonomy, standardizing on an some hl7 interoperability protocols, and accepting various other standards that will help to further the cause of portability and uniformity over national medical records.


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