Listen to public radio, read the national newspapers, surf the standard cable channels or listen to the mainstream commentariat and the message is the same: if only the U.S. would import the best of European-style health care, life-expectancy rates would increase, health care costs would decline and physicians like the Disease Management Care Blog would bask in the benevolent and enlightened management of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
As the DMCB has pointed out before, comparative national data are not a slam-dunk, untangling unique non-medical cultural and economic impacts on population the U.S. is complicated and the U.S. in some instances, is getting its money's worth. What's more, rising health care costs are a global phenomenon and there is no evidence that dropping European-style health care on the U.S. will blunt its overall cost inflation. As for the enlightened benevolence of HHS, just remember that their Board of Directors is Congress and that Taxmageddon promises that the SGR fix won't be pretty.
Yet, while DMCB readers may have a reason to be skeptical about the wisdom of of europhilism, what about the possibility that our beret-wearing, cobblestone-hopping, Audi-driving and cafe-sipping cousins across the Atlantic admire the U.S. system? Impossible you say?
Think again. The DMCB has personally been to Europe to share the good news about U.S. approaches to disease and management. The Care Continuum Alliance has an impressive international presence made up of organizations using elements of disease management and population-based care. Many of the vendors sell millions of dollars' worth of services in Europe.
To drive the point home, here's recent and telling opening quote from a internationally published paper in Health Expectations on the topic of disease management:
Inspired by American examples, several European countries are now developing disease management programmes (DMPs) to improve the quality of care for patients with chronic diseases.