31 December 2010

Fragmentation Happens Across Multiple Care Facilities

Are you a person that moves from medical facility to medical facility for your treatments. Or do you know someone that does this. Many go from doctor to doctor or hospital emergency room to hospital emergency room. Well it is a known fact that you may not receive the best care following this habit.

Now a study shows that this can do damage as well. Not only are more younger patients doing this, but more of these people are young men. These were also more likely to have psychiatric diagnosis, more likely to be hospitalized, and had higher health care costs.

The study was done in Massachusetts from October 1, 2002, to September 30, 2007. During the study, there were 12,758,498 acute care visits made by 3,692,178 adult patients. Interesting to note that five or more hospitals were used by 43794 patients (one percent) and they accounted for neatly one tenth of all acute care visits.

The study authors advise clinicians to be aware of the level of fragmentation in acute care. They should also be especially attentive to the unintended outcomes of incomplete medical information and prior dispersed medical care.

More attempts need to be made to reconcile medical information from various sites of care for each patient and to consider integrated patient care. Possible solutions might be medical homes and establishment of comprehensive care networks to improve the quality of care.

The fragmentation of medical care can be a problem for those giving care and is often caused by those receiving care. Yes, we have the right to seek second opinions, but this is often taken by patients who are not happy with the diagnosis and are looking for the magic cure-all. I am not sure why this is always necessary, but I have known individuals in the past that seek care where ever their insurance will allow, and even across state lines.

Most often they end up with care that is less than desirable.  Read the article here.

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