A more sophisticated version of a longtime data-gathering tool — the request for information — helps companies gain a clearer picture of health plans' quality-improvement efforts.
Bush has one year to deliver change, as promised. Medicare, prescription drugs, malpractice insurance are all on the table.
Paying attention to how elements of the system mingle is crucial for improving quality, says the man who spearheaded the latest Institute of Medicine study.
Health care doesn't use the information technology and training and coordinating techniques that other sectors use.
As health plans and other organizations refine criteria for the practice, consumer advocates voice some concerns.
HMOs should adopt a conflict-management, rather than dispute-resolution, approach to patient complaints.
Managed care's strong points, obscured in the backlash over choice and coverage decisions, will be critical to consumers in the years ahead.
Legislation & Regulation
Managed care organizations, concerned that the malpractice-insurance upheaval will thin provider panels and create access difficulties, are watching tort-reform efforts closely. Are we merely seeing the underwriting cycle at work?
The American Academy of Family Physicians wants to provide members with some form of electronic medical records. This is downright visionary. Too bad it can't work. One reason: More information means more work for doctors, not less.
The Formulary Files
The government is closely watching drug companies' marketing practices where they intersect with federal health care programs. While the rules were drafted for drug manufacturers, health plans, too, should be vigilant.
Systems & Software
Physician demand may finally be on the horizon. The only question is whether the personal digital assistant, smart phone, or another variety will dominate.