Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Butterfly Effect

Quote of the day:

You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat. - Albert Einstein


Those of you who are physicists or students of chaos theory know what the butterfly effect is.  This is a theory that someone turning on a fan in Brazil can cause a domino effect which causes a tornado in Kansas. It can be applied to politics, weather-forcasting, and even health care and health care policy. It is the law of unintended consequences......a coconut falling off a tree in Jamaica causing a series of earthquakes in California.

Few forsaw the effect of Medicare introduction in the 1960s and what would cascade forward with the huge growth of senior citizens, increased longevity, decreased birth rates, inflationary booms and recessions.  The necessity of managed care, evolution of integrated healthcare delivery systems to cope with increasing technologies, demand for health care services.  The economic effects of poor reimbursement to primary (used to be called, family doctors, or general practitioners) care providers that would transform primary care in many localities to "triage" offices.

The uptick in consumer directed medicine and internet social networking allows a transfer of heath information among consumers, (patients) prior to physician office visits.  This too is health information exchange, at the grass roots level.

In Health Information Exchanges in relation to medical care

ie, patient goes to doctor, doctor sees patient, doctor treats patient  Besides, say opponents, a computer in the same room situated between a doctor and a patient changes the human chemistry between the two. Some things are best expressed through the head of a pen rather than the click of mouse. Computers are not magical machines. Computers are human too(ls)

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