A Doctor’s View Of Improving N.D. Health Care

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota has held a series of health care forums in communities throughout the state in recent months and asked North Dakotans about the challenges, successes and improvement needed in the state’s health care system. Another forum will be held in western North Dakota this spring or summer. We have also engaged in online discussions with residents about health care reform and other issues impacting the state’s health care system through this blog as well as Facebook and Twitter.

We have asked for your feedback and listened to what you had to say. We intend to continue doing so and to keep the discussion going through social media, and other avenues. We plan to periodically highlight feedback we have received from residents. One such example is a letter we received from Donald McIntyre, a retired physician from Rugby, N.D. Below are excerpts from McIntyre’s letter about how we can improve North Dakota’s health care system:

“Correcting the lack of coordinated, integrated, timely health care (not just an electronic record). I cannot express in strong enough terms how in the last 15 years this unfortunate situation has spread in N.D. and elsewhere (with certain exceptions such as from the Mayo Clinic). The electronic record is only a means of entering and retrieving information and so far (except for Mayo) has done very little to improve communications. The content of such a record is only as good as the entries! …

Payment reform. We should start over! I cannot see where operative procedures (especially elective ones and some that are not necessary) are any more valuable to a given patient than a correct diagnosis followed by correct management. The high end of this needs to be curtailed and or reduced. …

Drug cost need further reduction. Litigation and patient issues as well as minor chemical changes with following increased costs come to mind.”

What do you think? How would you improve the state’s health care system?