From computerized medical records to databases of pharmacological interactions and automated provisional EKG readings, the emergence of information technology has significantly altered the practice of medicine. Information technology has been widely used to enhance diagnosis and treatment and to improve communication between providers. The advent of the Internet also brings far-reaching implications for patient–physician communication, challenging physicians, patients, and policymakers to consider its impact on the delivery of medical care and the therapeutic relationship. A new set of practices by patients (...) and physicians is unfolding in cyberspace, ranging from the use of e-mail to communicate between physicians and patients in an existing relationship to one-to-one consultations with an anonymous physician and ongoing online treatment, such as psychotherapy. These practices are emerging in both the for-profit and not-for-profit spheres. (shrink)
Over the past several years, healthcare has been profoundly altered by the growth of managed care. Because managed care integrates the financing and delivery of healthcare services, it dramatically alters the roles and relationships among providers, payers, and patients. While analysis of this change has focused on whether and how managed care can control costs, an increasingly important concern among healthcare providers and recipients is the impact of managed care on the physicianpatient relationship, but little data have been collected and (...) analyzed. We designed a survey for distribution to Wisconsin physicians to analyze the prevalence and types of managed care arrangements in the state, and the impact of these arrangements on physicians and their relationships with patients. (shrink)
The problem of decision-making capacity in patients with dementia, such as those with early stage Alzheimer's, can be vexing, especially when these patients refuse life-sustaining medical treatments. However, these patients should not be presumed to lack decision-making capacity. Instead, an analysis of the patient's decision-making capacity should be made. Patients who have some degree of decision-making capacity may be able to make a choice about life-sustaining medical treatment and may, in many cases, choose to forgo treatment.