Wednesday November 13, 2019

Why patients are not put first in Indian hospitals

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By Dr Aniruddha Malpani
New Delhi: Despite most Indian hospitals claiming that serving the patient is their only priority, the reality is quite different.
Most patients in government-run hospitals are treated very shabbily – and their family members are treated much worse.
Why do hospitals continue putting patients last?
I think there are two reasons for this.
One, of course, is the fact that the hospital authorities can get away with it. They’ve done this for many years, and they feel that it’s not a problem which they need to address.  The number of hospital beds are far fewer than the number of patients, and since they have enough bed-occupancy (and, therefore, enough profitability), they see no need to change what they’re doing.
Their primary focus today is in incentivising doctors ( and other middle-men) to make sure that their beds are full, rather than trying to delight patients. This is a short-sighted approach which will come back to haunt them later.
Times are changing, especially in large cities, where lots of corporate hospitals have empty beds and are no longer profitable. At some point, when they find that their balance sheets are in the red, they will hopefully get their act together.
I think the second reason is that whatever initiatives they’ve tried in order to put patients first haven’t worked very well. Part of this is because they’ve been very half- hearted interventions – for  example, holding a conference;  or adding a few videos on their website.
However, the problem is that no one in senior management has taken ownership of trying to delight patients.  Each hospital should have a chief patient officer, whose job is to make sure that everyone in the hospital remembers that the only reason the hospital exists is to help patients to get better. He needs to champion the cause of the patient if we want things to improve. Ideally, this should be the Chairman of the Board, who can inspire change by taking rounds daily.
Dr Aniruddha Malpani is the Medical Director at Malpani Infertility Clinic
the article first published at docplexus.in

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Researchers Find That Discount on Medical Drugs Can Make you Purchase Them More

The study used Canadian national pharmacy data from 2.82 million prescriptions for 89 different medications where brand-name drug discount cards were used and compared

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Discount
While Discount cards decreased some patients' out-of-pocket costs by 7 per cent on an average, the study surprisingly found that many patients who filled prescriptions using a card were worse-off financially as a result. Pixabay

Researchers have found that brand-name Drug Discount cards are leading to higher healthcare spending in Canada.

Brand-name drug discount cards — also known as co-pay cards — are coupons offered by drug manufacturers to encourage patients to use brand-name drugs even after much cheaper generics became available.

Despite often boosting savings for customers, the study’s findings published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal show that drug discount cards actually increased private insurer costs by 46 per cent and public insurer costs by 1.3 per cent, compared to patients purchasing generics instead.

“We know that generic drugs are equally effective for the vast majority of patients. Given that, I believe these cards are leading to unjustifiable increases in health care costs,” said the study’s lead author Michael Law from the University of British Columbia in Canada.

While discount cards decreased some patients’ out-of-pocket costs by 7 per cent on an average, the study surprisingly found that many patients who filled prescriptions using a card were worse-off financially as a result.

This wasn’t the case for all drugs, but in some cases patients could pay up to $10 more out-of-pocket when using a discount card.

The study used Canadian national pharmacy data from 2.82 million prescriptions for 89 different medications where brand-name drug discount cards were used and compared the costs of these prescriptions to matched generic equivalents.

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Researchers have found that brand-name Drug Discount cards are leading to higher healthcare spending in Canada. Pixabay

The researchers said that patients, their clinicians and employers should be aware of the impact that brand-name discount cards have on the healthcare system.

For example, the increased costs to private insurers will likely be passed on to the patients and their employers in the form of increased insurance premiums.

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“Regardless of whether they hold insurance, patients should check the relative price between brand-name drugs with a discount card and the equivalent generics at their pharmacy,” said Law. (IANS)