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October 2004

The idea is radical and simple: Those who need medication the most should pay the least. There is evidence that this is cost-effective.
Martin Sipkoff
How many patients have the intelligence and skills to choose on the basis of medical quality?
MargaretAnn Cross
Along with traditional systemic therapies, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends four biologic agents as first-line treatment for psoriasis patients who are candidates for systemic therapy.
Thomas Morrow, MD
Electronic prescribing needs standardization before it's adopted by the masses. Start with the format of formulary databases.
Tony Schueth
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana has hired a third-party patient advocacy company to look into disputes. Looks good for patient satisfaction.
Frank Diamond
You'll spend 12 hours traveling and upward of $2,000 in tuition charges, room and board, then work twice as hard for a week when you get back.
Jaan Sidorov, MD
The HRA is not a new tool, but it is getting new respect. Often prodded by employers, health plans are increasingly identifying at-risk populations.
MargaretAnn Cross



Departments
Viewpoint
Much more research is needed to determine the full effect of drug benefit designs, says the author, an official at AstraZeneca. Quality must be the foremost concern.
Arthur Lazarus, MD, MBA
Legislation & Regulation
CMS has implemented 10 pilot programs that may very well be viewed as a make-or-break test for disease management.
John Carroll
Ethics
Boutique medicine is dysfunctional, but probably not unethical — so long as the lucky patients understand that they're not necessarily paying for better care.
Michael S. Victoroff, MD
Tomorrow's Medicine
Traditional therapies predominate in wound care, but for those patients with chronic conditions, engineered skin may be a welcome relief from pain and infection.
Thomas Morrow, MD