An Endorsement of Incrementalism

It is the nature of trade publications to seize on The Next Big Thing. You don’t want to read old news, and we don’t get any pleasure in producing it, so we and others like us need to present the new and fresh. Headlines are written to grab your attention; that’s their function. But let’s face it: Most new ideas are combinations of old ideas. Refinements. Expansions.

It’s usually evolution, not revolution, that makes the difference. And so we come to our cover story this month — pharmacy and therapeutics committees are increasingly seeking out and obtaining more information, and more appropriate information, about the drugs that they will recommend or reject for formulary placement. Not a fantastic new program or product, but in the long run, very important, very much a managed care function.

MargaretAnn Cross does a great job of examining the work that’s being done to prepare P&T committees. This could have been a boring, routine article, but MargaretAnn would never write such a thing. I learned a lot from this article, and I’m as jaded and critical as they come.

This issue was a special pleasure to put together. Managing Editor Frank Diamond reports on an important recent study that offers more evidence that contracting with well-managed large medical groups is the way to go to assure uniformly high quality clinical care. Karen Ferrick-Roman’s article on how payers and hospitals in the Pittsburgh area are saving money and giving better service by linking up electronically to verify coverage and manage the patient’s progress through the system is surely a case study that looks ahead to how payer-provider links will eventually work throughout the land.

I knew we couldn’t go wrong interviewing Arthur Caplan for our Question & Answer feature — and we didn’t. Finally, Maureen Glabman takes a provocative look at the pressures on medical and pharmacy managers. Enjoy!

MANAGED CARE October 2006. ©MediMedia USA

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