Current health costs pushing docs to make urgent choices

Current health costs pushing docs to make urgent choices
The current growth in health care's share of the gross domestic product and need to implement learning health systems is forcing physicians to make important choices, according to a perspective piece published online Dec. 12 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

(HealthDay)—The current growth in health care's share of the gross domestic product (GDP) and need to implement learning health systems is forcing physicians to make important choices, according to a perspective piece published online Dec. 12 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Noting that physicians are accustomed to benefiting from health care's growing share of the GDP, Arnold Milstein, M.D., M.P.H., from the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, discusses the impact of closing the gap between and the GDP.

The author notes that the current annual gap of 2 to 3 percent between health spending growth and GDP has far-reaching economic consequences, with an increasing proportion of Americans requiring public funding to afford access to health care. New methods need to be adopted in health care, which are outlined in the Institute of Medicine's vision for a learning health system. To foster robust learning health systems, incentives are available for improving value, but these are likely to result in a decrease in the demand for physicians' services. Physicians can resist these policies which threaten their income. To protect their own incomes, they can lobby to slow policies limiting spending; additionally, they can enhance their incomes by exporting their expertise via telecommunication.

"The 's diverging trend lines present physicians with an urgent choice," the author writes. "One path leads to a gain of 2 to 3 percent in annual efficiency, robust federal creditworthiness, and thereby equitable access to good care, the other to better protection of physicians' incomes and traditional roles but wider informal rationing of health care services."

The author disclosed to numerous and associations.

More information: Full Text

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Are we spending too much on health?

Sep 26, 2008

In this poor economic climate and period of lower growth is it time to consider limiting spending on healthcare budgets? Two experts debate the issue on bmj.com today.

Recommended for you

Sensors may keep hospitalized patients from falling

40 minutes ago

(Medical Xpress)—To keep hospitalized patients safer, University of Arizona researchers are working on new technology that involves a small, wearable sensor that measures a patient's activity, heart rate, ...

Rising role seen for health education specialists

2 hours ago

(HealthDay)—A health education specialist can help family practices implement quality improvement projects with limited additional financial resources, according to an article published in the March/April ...

FDA proposes first regulations for e-cigarettes

3 hours ago

The federal government wants to prohibit sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels under regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration.

Vermont moves toward labeling of GMO foods

3 hours ago

Vermont lawmakers have passed the country's first state bill to require the labeling of genetically modified foods as such, setting up a war between the behemoth U.S. food industry and an American public that overwhelmingly ...

User comments