A National Science Foundation consortium is looking at whether "systems engineering" approaches, methods used by other industries, could help reduce health care costs while improving patient care, writes Marlene Cimons of the NSF. "Our overall mission is to have broad and sustained national impact through the development, application and broad spread of engineering methods," said James Benneyan, professor of industrial engineering and operations research in Northeastern's College of Engineering.
A study found that expanding phone-based support systems to cover a larger pool of patients with chronic conditions or those who go to an emergency room for routine care reduced average health costs by 3.6%, compared with a traditional, more restricted model.
Physicians who adopt medical home practice models offer options for people who otherwise would head to the hospital for nonemergency conditions, according to a report in the Washington Post. Primary care physicians also increase access to care by opening up their schedules to allow for same-day, after-hours and weekend appointments.
More U.S. hospitals showed substantial improvements in their adherence to standards of treatments and care for children's asthma, heart attack and pneumonia, as well as surgical cases, according to a Joint Commission Report. A higher percentage of hospitals also scored higher than 90% in 2009 than in previous years. The report shows that hospitals' "efforts are resulting in consistently improving patient care," said Mark Chassin, president of the nonprofit organization.
National Health IT Coordinator Dr. David Blumenthal said at a recent meeting that requirements under the second stage of meaningful use will include tougher measures for health information exchange and clinical decision support. Blumenthal also highlighted the role of e-prescribing in the switch to electronic health records, saying, "I think once physicians get used to using the computer to e-prescribe, they may be a little more comfortable moving to the full electronic health record."