Saturday, November 24, 2007

Demand Management: Putting Patients First

Demand Management: Putting Patients First : "Demand management is the process of empowering patients to make wiser health care decisions. It is not necessarily about reducing demand or keeping patients out of your practice. Rather, the goal is to engage patients in the quest for appropriate care. If you doubt the necessity of managing demand, think about all the patients who press you to prescribe antibiotics for their colds or demand other interventions you know to be unwarranted. Multiply the effect out across the country, and consider that the United States spends an estimated $200 billion a year on unnecessary and inappropriate care.2 To tackle this problem, demand management employs essentially two strategies: * First, it seeks to reduce the need for services by improving patients' health. The emphasis here is on wellness, health promotion, risk reduction, prevention and early detection. * Second, demand management attempts to improve patients' decisions. Patients may need to be taught, for example, when they need to see the doctor and when all they need is self-care. Tools such as patient education materials and telephone advice lines can aid the decision-making process."

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