I was reading this piece on Dark Daily, entitled “Behavioral Economics Likely to Push Up Utilization of Clinical Pathology Laboratory Tests” which suggests that laboratory usage will increase due to a trend in insurance companies to lower premiums through proactive intervening tests instead of costly reactive procedures. These tests would measure and inform certain healthy/unhealthy behaviors and would influence the price of coverage for individuals.
The piece’s author, Michael McBride, believes that more people will choose for less expensive coverage in exchange for living healthy, which will result in more testing sent to clinical and pathological labs.
While I thought it was interesting – especially as we at mTuitive have a pathology product – I was unsure about the validity of McBride’s assumptions. Luckily, I’m fairly familiar with behavioral economics as my friend Ryan has been studying it for years and is currently in the economics PhD program at Duke University. I asked Ryan if he could clarify for everyone the definition of behavioral economics and provide any examples that either support or contradict McBride’s findings. Here is Ryan’s response:
Behavioral economics is a burgeoning field due to its robust nature in explaining economic decisions. Where many view standard economics as too rigid, relying on assumptions of consistent preferences, full information, and unbounded rationality, behavioral economics use of flexible concepts like social/cultural framing, the status quo, and loss aversion seem to be more representative of the “real” world. Due to its accommodating assumptions and straightforward approach, though, there is a tendency for people to simplify or generalize the predictions of behavioral economics. An example of this trend can be seen in the Dark Daily article, “Behavioral Economics Likely to Push Up Utilization of Clinical Pathology Laboratory Tests.”
The article presents a well thought-out premise; new insurance schemes which incentivize improving health will have large take-up and thus subsequently lead to major increases in clinical lab tests. To motivate this discussion the author states, “given a choice of either unhealthy activities (e.g., smoking, eating badly, not exercising) coupled with an expensive health benefit plan, or an inexpensive, even zero cost, health plan that promotes healthy choices, behavioral economics theory predicts that consumers eventually choose the latter. That choice should lead to improved health while driving down the cost of healthcare.” This statement though is not completely valid. Nothing inherent in “behavioral economics”, or standard neo-classical economics for that matter, makes a costly insurance program with no behavior related stipulations necessarily the preferred choice over a cost-less but regulated alternative.
Reddit alerted me to this excellent study conducted in Brockton, Massachusetts and published in the Fall 1974 volume of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis:
Be sure to check out the follow up study.
There’s a new opinion piece by Dr. John Mattson in Becker’s Orthopedic & Spine Review. Entitled “3 Reasons Justifying Synoptic Data in Surgical Operative Reports,” the piece examines the inherent problems with dictation and the multiple ways that synoptic reporting improves on this increasingly antiquated system.
Orthopedic surgeon Dr. John Mattson, a consultant to mTuitive OpNote, recently gave an interview to Healthcare Informatics about the benefits of mTuitive OpNote and how his experiences with reporting helped inform OpNote’s development.
Recently, on his blog “Life as a Healthcare CIO,” Dr. John Halamka gave advice on how to implement EHRs for surgical practices. Dr. Halamka points out many of the issues we’ve found when meeting with surgical practices and ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs). Surgical practices offer a unique set of problems as they have a very specific purpose, are less likely to have many returning patients, and capture a limited amount of information (the rest being captured by referring general practitioners/primary care physicians and their respective facilities). So where is the incentive for these practices to adopt an electronic solution? How can EHRs address these particular needs without being too disruptive to the surgeons’ workflows? Dr. Halamka has some ideas – based on his own experiences – but I think there’s more to add to this discussion.
Continues SourceMedical’s tradition of comprehensive solutions for all of surgeons’ needs while utilizing mTuitive’s expertise with electronic medical reporting.
Birmingham, AL, November 15, 2010 – SourceMedical today announced a partnership with mTuitive, Inc. to help ASCs and surgeons improve postoperative reporting and streamline medical coding processes. Built upon mTuitive’s electronic postoperative reporting solution and fully integrated with the AdvantX, Vision and SurgiSource applications, SourcePlus OpNote will provide ASCs and specialty hospitals with immediate access to surgeons’ postoperative reports and coding data leading to more rapid and accurate revenue cycle processes.
“As an orthopedic surgeon who does exclusively outpatient procedures, I see significant value in the integration of mTuitive’s OpNote into SourceMedical’s management software such as improved reporting for participating ASCs,” said Dr. John Mattson, an active user of the OpNote system. “After a short learning curve, surgeons will find that SourcePlus OpNote is faster than dictating and far less onerous for surgeons as the repetition present in 90 percent of operative reports is eliminated. We now produce superior operative reports while generating additional revenue. Integrating this technology with SourceMedical’s ASCs management software is a win for both surgeons and facilities.”
With SourcePlus OpNote, ASCs are no longer required to spend time and money having surgeons’ postoperative reports transcribed. SourcePlus OpNote makes surgeon reports immediately available via the fully web-based platform to the surgeon and ASC staff. By standardizing documentation and distributing reports simultaneously to all stakeholders immediately after approvals are entered, the entire coding and revenue cycle process is accelerated.