Oct 30, 2007

"Society flies blind when it comes to health care…"

In the U.S. and England, the financial bottom line tends to drive decisions about how to value medical treatments within a competitive health system, and reconfigurations and reforms are usually led by administrators and politicians, not by physicians. “To improve the health care system,” argue NYU Wagner Professor John Billings and two fellow scholars writing for the Journal of the American Medical Association, “physicians should take a firm lead: a large portion of the activities most likely to have an impact on improving outcomes and quality are embedded in the care setting provided by physicians interacting directly with patients.” But is it likely that physicians will take the initiative and foster positive-sum competition for health-gain value to patients? For the answer, read the full article by Prof. Billings, Jennifer Dixon, and Cyril Chantler by clicking the link below.

Prof. Billings, Associate Professor of Health Policy and Public Service at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University, teaches in the area of health policy. He is principal investigator on numerous projects to assess the performance of the safety net for vulnerable populations and to understand the nature and extent of barriers to optimal health for vulnerable populations. Much of his work has involved analysis of patterns of hospital admission and emergency room visits as a mechanism to evaluate access barriers to outpatient care and to assess the performance of the ambulatory care delivery system. He has also examined the characteristics of high cost Medicaid patients in to help in designing interventions to improve care and outcomes for these patients. Parallel work in the United Kingdom has involved creating an algorithm for the National Health Service to identify patients at risk of future hospital admissions and designing interventions to improve care for these high risk patients. As a founding member of the Foundation for Informed Decision Making, Professor Billings is helping to provide patients with a clearer mechanism for understanding and making informed decisions about a variety of available treatments.

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