Monday, February 16, 2009

Canadas hospitals cut the paperwork, emphasize care

Hot off the wire....just 72 views at this writing.

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Follow this extended interview (about twenty-five minutes) with Dr. Reinhardt.

How the U.S. measures up to Canada’s health care system

The Worldfocus signature story Canada’s hospitals cut the paperwork, emphasize care explores Canada’s health care system.

In this extended interview, Uwe Reinhardt, a leading adviser on health care economics and professor of political economy at Princeton University, compares the Canadian and American health care systems. Reinhardt criticizes the U.S. health care culture and expresses his optimism about the Obama administration.

As part of Worldfocus’ Health of Nations signature series, correspondent Edie Magnus conducted this half-hour interview with Uwe Reinhardt on January 20, 2008, the day of President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

Reinhardt blogs at The New York Times’ “Economix” blog. A transcript of the interview is below the video.

Transcript excerpt...

Uwe Reinhardt: Mind you, I’m not advocating the Canadian system. It works well for them. I’m not saying we need to have this, but I’m saying whatever we have, if you have government saying there is going to be one computer system, that doesn’t mean one manufacturer, but whatever they make has to interoperable. Whatever language they use has to be the same. We’re going to speak English, so to speak. One nomenclature. You have to call this operation by one code, no matter who it is. There have to be common billing forms. Not every company has its own incomprehensible explanation of benefits, you know. Every hospital bill is just a living insult, when you actually get one as a patient. There has to be something people understand.

And it turns out that after giving it to the industry for 30 years to straighten out and they didn’t, it will have to be the Obama government that says, “Guys we’re going to rig this for you. You can have all the machines you want, all the software. You can buy it from whomever, but it has to obey these rules.”

Just like electric plugs. No matter who makes the stuff, there has to be one plug. But for some reason, the electric industry has been able to settle on one plug. The Cell phone industry has still not settled on one charger. You have to have chargers that vary by thing. The earplugs for the cell phones are different depending on the model. This is nonsense. You give the industry time and if you can’t figure it out, kids, we’ll figure it out for you.

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