This blog series is a roundup of recent news items and developments that I found interesting and would like to share.
Minimally invasive surgery has become one of the most effective means of achieving high quality, lower cost performance. Advances in medical imaging and surgical techniques have increased the efficacy and safety of many surgical procedures. Recovery from such surgeries is often swift and requires little in hospital recovery time. It is disappointing to learn that such methods that benefit patients at lower cost are not used as widely as they can be. Adjusting payment models to increase the use of such surgeries is likely needed. Patients Often Aren’t Offered Minimally Invasive Surgery
Please see this significant change in the way Medicare will reimburse medical services. Fee for service will be replaced with value based payments beginning in 2016. It is likely most insurance programs will follow this example. The hope is that a change in payment will result in higher quality care and a lower cost. Healthcare to Shift Away From Fee for Service in Historic Overhaul
Thoughts on the past and future of the Affordable Care Act from Henry Aaron of the Brookings Institution. Five Years Old, Going on Ten: The Future of the Affordable Care Act
Quality measurements are key to healthcare improvement. In the United States, quality measures are fast becoming key to financial success as well. Christine Cassel, President and CEO of the National Quality Forum, discussed the importance of “getting the measures right.” Please see a summary of her remarks. Stakes are Rising for Clinical Quality: How to Get the Metrics Right
The World Health Organization has initiated a process to create a dementia observatory to track progress on future research, drug development, and in the sharing of dementia care models across different economic settings. See a summary from The Lancet. Dementia: Turning Fine Aspirations Into Measurable Progress
Please see this introduction to The Lancet‘s Latin American series on Universal Healthcare Coverage. Universal Health Coverage: Not Why, What, or When — But How?
This is a concise summary of some of the battles for health justice in Latin America. Efforts to provide equitable access to high quality care have had their ups and downs. Political Roots of the Struggle for Health Justice in Latin America
This article summarizes the two tired system of healthcare coverage in several Latin American countries: one for those who are employed by the state or corporations, the other for the self employed and the poor. The lessons have deep implications for those Asian countries working toward universal healthcare coverage. Overcoming Social Segregation in Healthcare in Latin America
Please see this report from the International Federation in Aging on the impact of loss of vision on the elderly. This report emphasizes the importance of including comprehensive vision, and I should add hearing, programs, as integral to all elder care initiatives. The High Cost of Low Vision: The Evidence on Aging and the Loss of Sight