NYTM: The Quality Cure?

NYT Magazine has an in-depth article on different ways of looking at health care reform that take into account that rising health costs also yield more health benefits. Health-IT is mentioned starting on page 6: ‘…Many doctors still write prescriptions and keep records manually, and Cutler says that digitizing the health-care system would save considerable administrative expense and improve quality. It would minimize prescription errors, speed paperwork and make a patient’s medical history portable. But the big kick is what information technology could do for the doctor’s understanding of his own performance.

Most doctors’ offices have no idea, say, what the average blood pressure is of their patients being treated for heart disease. In fact, most clinics could not tell you how many heart patients they have or how many have been prescribed a particular drug. Cutler envisions a medical world in which doctors routinely get readouts of their patients’ blood-pressure levels, insulin, smoking rates — the lot. This, of course, is how most of the business world already operates. So the G.E. program is paying doctors’ offices up to $15,000 a year for investing in, and using, computers…’

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