Chronic disease management

Continuing the theme of economic incentives, the WSJ’s Ben Brewer writes about how physicians who properly treat chronic diseases are placed in a tremendous financial disadvantage:

My office has invested heavily in an electronic medical record to track and monitor chronic conditions with little financial return . . .

. . . Managing chronic diseases between visits is uncompensated work for doctors, yet the need for such care is huge.

The current financial disincentives to providing proper care for chronic disease are daunting, and the waste created by ignoring the problem is growing as the population ages.

The proposed “medical home” model attempts to correct this, by paying doctors to spend time with patients and track disease.

However, we’re a long ways off from this being widely implemented.

Poorly managed chronic diseases blossom into expensive hospital stays. The longer we hold off on reforming the physician payment system, the more we’ll pay for it in the future.