Monthly Archives: September 2012

Money & Medicine

PBS Special “Money & Medicine” Explores the Dangers of Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment

This evening, PBS will air a special investigative report on the dangers of our current medical system. Money & Medicine takes us inside two world-renowned hospitals — UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles and Intermountain Medical Center in Utah — and shares first-hand stories of unnecessary medical spending, as well as effective methods for improving the overall quality of care and reducing costs.

Money & Medicine captures the variations of care from birth to death and paints a powerful picture of our country’s medical crisis. The film also depicts effective strategies currently practiced at UCLA and Intermountain that reduce wasteful medical spending and improve health care quality. These strategies include improving coordination of care, implementing shared decision making and practicing evidence-based medicine. Continue reading

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Michael J. Barry, MD

The President’s Corner: September 2012

This month, a much anticipated study was published in Health Affairs that addresses something we are often asked at the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation: What are the effects of decision aids on utilization rates and medical costs? Researchers from Group Health Cooperative found that when decisions aids were used for patients making a decision about whether or not to have elective knee or hip replacement surgeries, there was a significant drop in surgical procedures as more patients opted for more conservative, less costly treatment options. Continue reading

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Massachusetts Passing of Cost Containment Legislation is a Win for Shared Decision Making

On August 6, 2012, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed into law the health care cost containment legislation. This second part of Massachusetts’ health care reform emphasizes the transition of a health care system that pays providers based on volume to one that provides incentives for better coordination of care by avoiding costly hospital re-admissions, keeping patients healthy through preventive and wellness services and ensuring that patients receive only the care they need and want. The first phase of Massachusetts’ landmark health care reform legislation, passed in 2006, ensured that every resident in the state would be able to obtain health care coverage. Massachusetts has been quite successful in that endeavor with 98% of residents being covered. Continue reading

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Iowa and Wales United through Shared Decision Making

A Passion for Shared Decision Making Unites Nurses Living 4,000 Miles Apart

Any outsider listening to the phone conversation that occurred this summer between Kelly Taylor, director of quality improvement at Mercy Clinics, Inc. in Des Moines, Iowa and Jane Price, the lead nurse for patient experience at Aneurin Bevan Health Board in Gwent, Wales, would have though they were listening to old friends exchanging stories about a shared history of palliative care nursing. Although they had never met in person, this first conversation between the two was a seamless hour long exchange of personal anecdotes, lessons learned from their work, and hope for the future of health care for those suffering from terminal disease. Continue reading

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Voices of Shared Decision Making with Peter Ubel

Each “Voices” blog segment will feature a person we believe has a unique and valuable perspective on shared decision making. Today’s guest is Peter Ubel, MD, author of “Critical Decisions.” 1) In your own words, what is shared decision making and how does it improve the quality of health care? Put simply, shared decision making is the gold standard — the sine qua non* — for how medical decisions ought to be made. The pipe medical choice is rarely a function of medical facts alone. Tough decisions require value judgments, and it is the patient’s values that often determine which choice is best. An operation cannot be a “success” unless it was the right course of action to take for an individual patient. Treatment cannot “work” unless it was the treatment that best fits that patient’s individual preferences. Quality of care begins with shared decision making. Continue reading

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