NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

HEALTH CARE NOT COMPROMISED BY MULTIPLE CONDITIONS

June 14, 2007

Having multiple chronic health conditions won't diminish the quality of health care received.  In fact, having more than one chronic problem appears to slightly improve that care, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

There are several reasons why people with chronic conditions might get better care, Dr. Paul Shekelle, the study's lead author, explained:

  • One is that they may simply have more opportunities to get the necessary procedures because they're at the doctor's office more often.
  • Another possibility is that people with chronic conditions may also be receiving care from a specialist.

The quality of care, measured according to whether patients were offered recommended services, increases as a patient's number of chronic conditions increases, the study's authors wrote.

But not everyone is convinced that the study's criteria are the best way to gauge quality in health care.

"This is an interesting study, but you shouldn't just look at process indicators, you should also look at outcomes, like mortality, hospital readmission and quality of life," said Dr. Louis Teichholz, division director of cardiology at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey.

Source: "Health Care Not Compromised by Multiple Conditions," Forbes.com, June 13, 2007.

For study abstract:

http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/abstract/356/24/2496

 

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