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Fixin' Healthcare

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Lifestyle Chronicles - Quality Again

The North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation has awarded a three year $1.65 million grant jointly to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University. The purpose is to address quality of health care and patient safety, health disparities, global health with emphasis on HIV/AIDS and mental health care. It is a tall order covering a lot of territory. I wish them well and look forward to their accomplishments. The attention to quality of care is timely and it would be useful if that included healthy lifestyle.

On another front, the American Medical Association has an agreement with Congress to develop approximately 140 physician performance measures covering 34 clinical areas for doctors to report to the federal government in an effort to improve the quality of care. The focus will be on diagnostic tests and treatments known to produce better outcomes for patients. Of course, this will be linked to "pay for performance".

The AMA project, or something like it, was inevitable, and on the surface it sounds good. But, before this is over there will be a lot of grief. The intention is to make health care better and hopefully that will happen. Wouldn't it be marvelous if healthy lifestyle and prevention were the main focus. I shudder to think of the paper work and record keeping that will result. It should stimulate the move to electronic medical records.

How did we ever get so wrapped up in being sick, and the fear of being sick? This may be the greatest example of a self-fulfilled prophesy the world has ever witnessed. That is, if everyone is not too sick to appreciate it.

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