Calif. Doctors Say E-Health Saved Lives; In Mich., Doctors Visit Patients OnlineReuters/The Washington Post: An electronic medical system first introduced in 2007 has shown a 20 percent drop in hospital deaths -- the equivalent of about 36 lives saved -- over 18-months at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto California, doctors there have found. The system, a computerized physician order entry, or CPOE, allows "doctors to relay prescriptions to pharmacists without delay, and without the need for the pharmacist to decipher doctors' scrawl." The systems also help avoid unnecessary care like blood transfusions in some cases. "Although close to three in ten U.S. hospitals use CPOE, no one had been able to show a decrease in mortality until now. In 2005, a Pittsburgh hospital even reported an increase in the number of child deaths after it implemented the system" (Joelving, 5/3).
The Detroit News: "Visiting" patients in cyberspace is "paying off for physicians as more Michigan health insurers reimburse them for this type of care, ushering in a new era when patients will no longer have to schedule an office visit to talk to their doctors about minor concerns. Health maintenance organizations Priority Health, Blue Care Network and Health Alliance Plan have launched programs within the last two years that pay physicians for 'e-visits' -- online exchanges in which patients can list symptoms, ask medical questions and expect a reply from their doctor in 24-48 hours" (Rogers, 5/3). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.