Online Update

August 17, 2007

HEALTH COSTS
The French feel our pain

Average health spending per person shot up by more than 80 percent in real terms between 1990 and 2005 in the 30 nations that belong to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. That's more than twice the 37 percent growth rate of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in those countries, says the Paris-based OECD, an economic analysis, social data, and forecasting organization. On average, health spending now accounts for 9 percent of GDP in member countries, up from nearly 7 percent in 1990.

 Percentage of GDP*
United States15.3%
Switzerland11.6
France11.1
Germany10.7

MEDICAL STUDENTS
New docs to champion high tech

More than 60 percent of medical students say young physicians will sweep in a new age of high-tech doctoring with the universal use of electronic health records (EHRs), says the second annual Future Physicians of America survey. The poll of 1,000 US medical students was conducted by Epocrates, which makes mobile tools and web-based software for doctors, and Gerson Lehrman Group, a network management firm. Nearly nine out of 10 students say they've used EHRs, and 44 percent say they strongly agree that the use of clinical reference information on their mobile devices, such as PDAs or smart-phones, gave them an advantage over their classmates.

TECHNOLOGY
E-scripts still not the rage

Just one in 30 healthcare providers who can lawfully write prescriptions does so electronically, says research conducted by the Washington, DC-based Gorman Health Group. If current trends continue, e-prescribing will expand to 7 percent of all prescriptions by 2010 and 18 percent by 2013, says the report prepared for the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, a national group of pharmacy benefit managers. But, the report adds, if the federal government required or incentivized Medicare providers to use electronic methods, that chunk would increase to 64 percent of prescriptions by 2013.