Indian hospitals could perhaps take a cue from an experiment being conducted in public hospitals in New York. A host of public hospitals there have linked salaries of doctors topatient outcomes and satisfaction. This is against the existing system where doctors' paycheques are determined by the number of patients they are able to bring in. The current system is often blamed for patients being put through unnecessary tests or being admitted for longer duration than required.
The new benchmarks could go a long way in improving patient care with its emphasis on factors such as how well doctors communicate with patients, whether doctors' reach the operating room on time or how quickly patients are discharged. It would also give patients a much needed say in patient care. The experiment is not without problems and it may be difficult to benchmark factors such as "satisfactory" communication. It might also prove to be unfair for medicos given the fact that is often difficult for relatives to accept that their patient has experienced an adverse outcome to their treatment.
In the Indian setting, the model is perhaps more apt for the private sector as public hospitals payscales are not benchmarked against patient turnover. Private healthcare has been marked with a growing distrust of healthcare providers and a breakdown of doctor-patient relationships. Giving patients a say over their doctors could help restore their faith as well as help them reclaim a rightful say over their treatment.
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American Medical News reports that health insurance giant WellPoint has struck up a deal with IBM and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York to use the supercomputer — which has spent its post-Jeopardy days amassing and “learning” massive amounts of data about the American health care, insurance, and public health industries — for two pioneer programs to automatically process, review, and pre-authorize medical claims and treatment requests, as well as a third program dubbed “Interactive Care Insights for Oncology”.
The latter will “identify individualized treatment options for cancer patients, starting with lung cancer” in order to advise oncologists on the latest and most effective treatment regimens by incorporating up-to-the minute longitudinal medical studies and cancer data into its suggestions.
A startup called IntelligentM wants to make hospitals healthier by encouraging workers to clean their hands properly. Its solution is an RFID (radio frequency identification) bracelet that vibrates when the wearer has scrubbed sufficiently, giving employees a way to check their habits and letting employers know who is and isn’t doing things right.
Some 100,000 people a year in the United States alone die because of infections that arise from hospital visits, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and a lot of these infections occur because doctors, nurses, and technicians don’t wash well enough.
HYDERABAD: The Mumbai-based Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) and the city-based Basavatarakam Indo-American Cancer Hospital and Research Institute (BIACH&RI) said they intend to promote joint research on cancer.
They aim at creating a ‘Cancer Collaboration Network’ to facilitate sharing clinical experiences and expertise, training and education, research and development and spreading cancer awareness to the public, TMC Director Rajendra Badwe and BIACH&RI trustee Nori Dattatreyudu said in a statement.
TMC and BIACH&RI will take the lead in creating a platform to expand this network, they said, adding that it would bring together various hospitals, doctors, scientists, pharma, industry, insurance, governments, NGOs and citizens dealing with cancer patients. Network coordinators to be identified by TMC and BIACH&RI, will work with the Tata Strategic Management Group to facilitate formulation of a MoU and work to fulfill the aims and objectives of the proposed network, they said, according to a release, after the conclusion of a four-day ‘Global Oncology Summit-20132 here. -PTI
The man once hailed by GQ Magazine as one of the 12 "rock stars of science" doesn't predict a rosy future for hospitals or medical clinics. But he does expect the individual consumer to be much more aware and proactive about healthcare.
In a Tuesday morning 2013 HIMSS Conference & Exhibition keynote replete with pop culture references and visual guides, Eric J. Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute and author of The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Health Care, delivered a ringing endorsement of the smartphone as the healthcare delivery platform of the future.
Digital health has gotten to a point, he said, where the average consumer can measure and track vital signs and other physiological data through his or her smartphone, thereby creating a "Google map of each individual." That, he said, flies in the face of America's healthcare industry, which is poised to experience a technological revolution similar to the 'Arab Spring" revolts that swept through the Mideast.
"We practice medicine today at a population level," said Topol, who is also a cardiologist and the West Endowed Chair of Innovative Medicine at San Diego-based Scripps Health. "We do everything the same. We don't recognize each person as an individual."
And digital health, he said, will change all of that.
Topol argued that population health leads to wasteful and even potentially dangerous practices, such as prostate exams and mammograms. Digital health tools would enable each individual to determine if he or she would need a test, he said.
The smartphone – the "lab on a chip" – can and will replace the annual physical, Topol predicted, and offer opportunities to screen for a wide variety of ailments, from lung disease and eye problems to heart issues, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Topol predicted that healthcare would move away from the hospital – which George Orwell once called "the antechamber to the tomb" – and toward the home, with consumers in charge of their own health and health data and physicians propelled into the role of specialists.
He also touted the development of handheld genome sequencers, and said science and medicine are moving towards a day when an individual's genomes can be mapped and used to detect, cure and possibly even prevent diseases like cancer.
And all it's going to take, he said, is a sense of empowerment on the part of the individual, armed with a smartphone.
'What we need to do is tear down that wall," he said.
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