Saturday, November 24, 2007

Demand Management: The Patient Education Connection

Demand Management: The Patient Education Connection : "Does the pairing of demand management and patient education surprise you? It shouldn't. After all, demand management is largely a process of educating patients about how to make appropriate use of health care services. Every time you tell a patient not to worry about a temperature of 101°F, you're managing demand -- as you are every time you try to get a patient to understand that antibiotics aren't effective against cold viruses and every time you say, 'and if it doesn't get better in a week, call the office.' While the purposes of patient education are usually thought of as increasing adherence to therapy and reducing health risks, demand management is and always has been an integral part of it. The concept of patient education is central to all efforts to manage demand, from computerized or telephonic decision-support systems for self-help and triage to the poster about the risks of high cholesterol that hangs on your waiting room wall. Are these demand management tools that provide patient education or patient education tools that manage demand? Your answer probably depends on whether you're a managed care executive or a physician. But the benefits of these strategies accrue to both groups, and to patients too."

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