Example research essay topic: Management Seminar On Managed Health Care And Technology – 1,191 words

… ies that include chemotherapy have also
contributed to rising health care costs. One field
of medical practice which has become notorious for
being costs-increasing is the study and treatment
of heart attacks. In the treatment of heart
attacks the prime cost-increasing technologies
like the introduction of intracoronary infusions
and coronary bypass surgery. A study using
Medicare claims from 1994 to 1999, report a four
percent annual increase in the average
reimbursement for treating elderly heart attack
patients. They causedthe majority of this increase
to the diffusion of new technologies for
performing revascularization procedures.

Over the
period of the study procedures such as cardiac
catheterization rates rose from eleven percent to
forty-one percent of heart attack patients. Bypass
rates rose from five percent to thirteen percent,
and angioplasty rates rose from one percent to
twelve percent. The population that was studied
was overwhelmingly enrolled in traditional FFS
Medicare, therefore any finding must represent a
spillover.Different approaches are used to
determine the impact of new technologies and
innovations on health care costs one approach,
called the affirmative approach, focuses on
individual technologies or diseases. This approach
suffers from an inability to access the impact of
technology on cost growth. The body of evidence
suggests that the impact of technology varies by
disease. One study notes that in certain areas,
technology clearly lowers costs, particularly when
that technology facilitates complete cure or
prevention of a disease One example of this type
of innovation is the Salk-Sabin polio vaccine,
which is inexpensive to develop and manufacture
and almost completely eliminates the high costs of
polio treatment.

Another approach that is used to
examine the effect of technology on health care
costs is known as the residual approach. This
approach views technological advances as being the
sole reason for rising health care costs simply
because the innovations are so expensive that
there must be a method of which to pay for the
invention and further development of the
technology. Several studies provide evidence
linking the conclusions from the residual approach
to those of the affirmative approach various
criteria based on observed changes in cost to
identify technoogy-related changes in
expenditures. They do not examine specific
technologies. Their findings show that the
technical change was the single largest cause of
the increase in the cost per inpatient case and
much of the remaining increase may also be
attributable to medical innovations. Also, two
other studies in 1999 examine overall growth in
physician expenditures during the late 1980s to
1998.

They do not examine specific diseases or
technologies but they distinguish the growth of
expenditures by physician type or service type. In
both cases the study concludes that cost growth
was greater in areas where technological
innovation was high such as cardiology or
orthopedic surgery. Therefore when one combines
this evidence with that from the remaining and
affirmative approaches medical technology appears
as a whole to be a prime driving force of health
care cost growth. For this reason in the long-run
impact of managed care on cost growth will depend
on the extent to which managed care alters the
rate of diffusion of medical technology. It is
important to note that high and even rising costs
of health coverage may be desirable by the
American consumer, and certainly by the health
insurance companies of the nation. Consumers
naturally demand the best of care when they or
their loved ones require treatment for a disease.
Health care cost growth is not is not necessarily
undesirable if the consumer is willing to pay for
the costs associated with new medical technology.
Also the amount of labor devoted to health care in
the United States is not excessive by
international standards.

There is an
understandable fear among government officials and
the American public that, over the course of the
next several decades quality health insurance will
become unaffordable to many and in some cases
completely unattainable. The concept of managed
care was developed as a method of keeping these
costs somewhat reasonable, and ensuring that
health care would be available to all American
consumers with minimal financial difficulty.
Careful examination of the problem of rising
health care costs have shown that if managed care
does not constrain health care cost growth,
another factor will do so. Several scenarios are
possible though not absolute . One proposed option
is for managed care companies to increasingly
ration care and services. Many consumers may be
unhappy with this option, but it may help to
curtail the rising costs of health care. This
suggests that various market characteristics, such
as the failure of employers to charge their
employees the incremental cost of health plans
have limited the effectiveness of managed care.
Managed care may become more effective in the
future if purchasers (employers and employees) are
more price sensitive.

Nevertheless if
technological progress continues to place pressure
on costs constraining cost growth will entail
greater restrictions on access to these services.
A solution such as this would require not only
economic but political and legal support to permit
stronger . This remains an issue of great
controversy with states responding to public
perceptions of rationing by adopting mandatory
coverage of certain services and requiring
hospitalization following procedures such as
mastectomies and child birth. It is likely that if
this scenario does not result such a system will
be characterized by wider differences in access to
care particularly to new technologies than we have
generally accepted. It is unclear thus far whether
this solution represents a permanent variation in
covereage policies or simply a variation in when
plans opt to cover emerging innovations. Another
proposed solution is to completely abandon the
private competitive health care system for a
nationalized system. Of course this solution would
not solve the underlying problem of tension
between access to care and cost control.

Some
forms of government action, such as premium
regulation would maintain health plan control over
issues of technology advances. Such an task would
undoubtedly move the issue of health care and
costs from the economics to the political side
even more intensely than it already is. Yet
another approach involves technology developing in
such a way to reverse the traditional relationship
between technological progress and cost growth.
Reasonable evidence suggests that insurance has
been a major factor contributing to the
development of new medical technologies. A study
shows that as much as seventy percent of the
impact of cost-increasing technologies on costs
growth can be indirectly attributed to insurance
coverage. Naturally a system dominated by managed
care would increase the incentives to develop
cost-reducing technologies and decrease the
incentives to develop cost- increasing
technological innovations. Little evidence exists
assessing and proving this trend.

Reports that
preliminary evidence indicatethat there has been a
shift in the types of technologies developed, but
the extent of that shift and its ultimate impact
on costs remains to be assessed. Regardless of
which path is taken evaluation of medical
technology is likely to become increasingly
important as costs continue to rise and the
American consumer demands the most effective and
up-to-date innovations. Given all of the complex
information in the health care sector a clearer
understanding of how managed care plans ration
medical technology is essential..

Research essay sample on Management Seminar On Managed Health Care And Technology