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עמוד בית
Thu, 13.06.24

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February 2010
S. Vinker, E. Zohar, R. Hoffman and A. Elhayany

Background: Most data on the incidence of rheumatic fever come from hospital records. We presumed that there may be cases of RF[1] that do not require hospitalization, especially in countries with high quality community health care. 

Objectives: To explore the incidence and characteristics of RF using community-based data. 

Methods: A retrospective descriptive study was conducted among the members (more than 450,000) of the Clalit Health Services, Central district, during 2000–2005. The electronic medical files of members up to 40 years old with a diagnosis of RF in hospital discharge letters or during community clinic visits were retrieved. Patients with a first episode of RF according to the modified Jones criteria were included.

Results: There were 44 patients with a first episode of RF. All patients were under the age of 29. The annual incidence among patients aged 0–30 years was 3.2:100,000; the highest incidence was among children aged 5–14 years (7.5:100,000), and in males the incidence was 2.26 times higher than in females. The incidence was higher among patients from large families, of non-Jewish ethnicity, and from rural areas. Twenty-five percent of the patients were both diagnosed and treated in an ambulatory care setting.

Conclusions: Although the incidence of RF in the western world and in Israel is low, the disease still occurs and mainly affects children. Any future estimates of disease incidence should take into account that RF is becoming an ambulatorily treated disease.  






[1] RF = rheumatoc fever


December 2001
Hava Tabenkin MD, Revital Gross, Shuli Bramli Greenberg, Dov Steinmetz MD and Asher Elhayany MD MP

Background: The rapidly increasing costs of healthcare pose a major challenge to many governments, particularly those of developed countries. Health policy makers in some Western European countries have adopted the policy of a strong primary healthcare system, partly due to their recognition of the value of primary care medicine as a means to restrain costs while maintaining the quality and equity of healthcare services. In these countries there is a growing comprehension that the role of the family physician should be central, with responsibility for assessing the overall health needs of the individual, for coordination of medical care and, as the primary caregiver, for most of the individual’s medical problems in the framework of the family and the community.

Objectives: To describe primary care physicians in Israel from their own perception, health policy makers' opinion on the role PCPs should play, and patients' view on their role as gatekeepers.

Methods: The study was based on three research tools: a) a questionnaire mailed to a representative sample of all PCPs employed by the four sick funds in Israel in 1997, b) in-depth semi-structured interviews with key professionals and policy makers in the healthcare system, and c) a national telephone survey of a random representative sample of patients conducted in 1997.

Results: PCPs were asked to rank the importance of 12 primary functions. A total of 95% considered coordination of all patient care to be a very important function, but only 43% thought that weighing economic considerations in patient management is important, and 30.6% thought that 24 hour responsibility for patients is important. Also, 60% of PCPs have undergone specialty training and 94% thought that this training is essential. With regard to the policy makers, most preferred highly trained PCPs (board-certified family physicians, pediatricians and internists) and believed they should play a central role in the healthcare system, acting as coordinators, highly accessible and able to weigh cost considerations. Yet, half opposed a full gatekeeper model. They also felt that the general population has lost faith in PCPs, and that most have a low status and do not have adequate training. Regarding the patients’ viewpoint, 40% preferred that the PCP function as their “personal physician” coordinating all aspects of their care and fully in charge of their referrals; 30% preferred self-referral to sub-specialists, and 19% preferred their PCP to coordinate their care but wanted to be able to refer themselves to specialists.

Conclusions: In order to maintain high quality primary care, it is important that all PCPs have board certification. In addition, PCP training systems should emphasize preventive medicine, health promotion, health economy, and cost-effectiveness issues. Efforts should be make to render PCPs a central role in the healthcare system by gradually implementing the elements of the gatekeeper model through incentives rather than regulations.
 

Asher Elhayany, MD

One of the most important issuesfor a country, its population and doctors is the effective use of its health system. The tremendous waste of resources. To combat this, and at the same time ensure that medical quality plays a role when making decisions on interventions, it is essential to equip doctors and clinic directors with information on the quality of the medical care they are providing. In order to assist clinic directors in maitaining medical quality, Clalit Health Services has developed comparative medical indices enabling doctors to compare their performance to that of their colleagues, as well as to the standard and their performance over time. The development of an index to evaluate the quality of medical treatment offered in clinics provides doctors and the health system with an essential tool to lessen the existing variation among doctors and to enhance and evaluate performance.

June 2001
Haim Reuveni, MD, Shifra Shvarts, PhD, Joachim Meyer, PhD, Asher Elhayany, MD, MPA and Dan Greenberg, MSc

Background: On 1 January 1995 a new mandatory National Health Insurance Law was enacted in Israel, The new law fostered competition among the four major Israeli healthcare providers (HMO5 or sick funds) already operating in the market due to the possibility that an unlimited number of patients and the relative budget share would shift among the HMOs. This led them to launch advertising campaigns to attract new members.

Objectives: To examine newspaper advertising activities during the early stages of healthcare market reform in Israel.

Methods: Advertising efforts were reviewed during a study period of 24 months (July 1994 to June 1996). Advertisements were analyzed in terms of marketing strategy, costs and quality of information.

Results: During the study period 412 newspaper adver­tisements were collected. The total advertising costs by all HMOs was approximately US$4 million in 1996 prices. Differences were found in marketing strategy, relative adver­tising costs, contents and priorities among the HMOs.

Conclusions: The content of HMO5 newspaper advertis­ing was consistent with their marketing strategy. The mes­sages met the criteria of persuasive advertising in that they cultivated interest in the HMOs but did not provide meaningful information about them. Future developments in this area should include consensus guidelines for advertising activities of HMOs in Israel, instruction concerning the content of messages, and standardization of criteria to report on HMO performance.

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