The American College of Physicians is out with its proposals for a better American health care system
The paper recommends voluntary certification and recognition of primary care and specialty medical practices that use health information technology, quality measurement and reporting, patient-friendly scheduling systems and other "best practices" to deliver better value and improve care coordination for patients, especially those with multiple chronic illnesses.While the specific criteria for being listed as a qualified advanced medical home will be developed later, ACP envisions that qualified practices will have the following kinds of services in place.* Primary care physicians would be responsible for partnering with their patients to assure that all of their health care is managed and coordinated effectively. This will be a major improvement from the fragmented health care system that we see today. They would partner with, and educate patients with chronic diseases, like diabetes, to help them manage their own conditions and prevent avoidable complications that would inevitably occur without long-range attention. These complications of diabetes include amputation, blindness, heart attacks and kidney failure.* The practice would use innovative scheduling systems to minimize delays in getting appointments.* Electronic health records and other health information technologies would be used to store all clinical data and test results, which would be immediately available. Physicians in the advanced medical home would use computerized, evidence- based clinical decision guidelines at the point of care to assure that patients get appropriate and recommended care.* Patients would have access to non-urgent medical advice through email and telephone consultations. The practice would have arrangements with a team of consultants and other health care professionals to provide the full spectrum of patient-centered services.
Now I know those physicians are very clever and all that, and I also know that they’re very jealous of how much cash the surgeons and radiologists pull down, but hang on a minute. Haven’t we heard something like this before on THCB? All care managed by PCPs; use of IT to coordinate all care; Choose and Book-type systems for patients; Access for all patients to NHS Direct — they’ve hit on the perfect system. It’s called the UK National Health Service.
Perhaps their members will be slightly less keen when they discover the average income of a GP in the UK, although with the state of the dollar these days it’s not as bad as it used to be if you consider it in American money!