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Tag: International Comparisons

It’s the GPs, Stupid. Care Coordination in Britain’s NHS.

The Bowler Hats Come Marching Home

A recent report from the Commonwealth Fund places the US last amongst developing nations in healthcare. For self-loathing Americans, Christmas couldn’t have come earlier. Raptures of ecstasy were oozing from pores of self-satisfying righteous indignation.

Anyway that, and the shakiness of the metrics for another time.

For now I will focus on one of the conclusions. In analyzing the Britain’s high score on the management of chronic conditions the authors attributed this care coordination to the widespread adoption of health information technology.

That’s like someone saying Chinese food is tasty because chopsticks are widely used.

Sigh! Like quants so fastidious about decimal points they’ve missed the overall point.

Where do I begin?

I’ll start with Mesozoic era, i.e. before health IT was thrust upon Britain’s general practitioners (GPs). Then you had GPs and specialists. In Britain GPs are not optional ornaments for the mantelpiece that you pick up from Ikea when you feel like.

No, they are rather compulsory. Everyone needs to be registered with a GP. Ok, you don’t get fined if you don’t have one, but if you want a referral to a cardiologist you need to see your GP which means you must have one to see in the first place.

Read my lips: no GP, no cardiologist.

If your cardiologist thinks there is nothing wrong with your heart and your problems are supratentorial for which you need to see a shrink, then he must write a letter to your GP asking that he might consider referring you to the psychiatrist. The specialist can’t send you directly to another specialist, bypassing your GP.

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