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Medical information services to aid consumers.

A new concept in allowing health care consumers to make better informed decisions: medical information services that offer objective data to understand illnesses and treatment options--and a guarantee. One example of this service, CareWise System, a nine-year-old information and counseling service, is offered to employers to supplement their ordinary health insurance. Other firms are now offering similar, competing services.

With CareWise, employers pay $45 per employee per year and are promised they will save every penny through reduced medical care costs--or they get the difference refunded. Employees receive a manual of basic home care, knowledgeable coaching for encounters with doctors, and access to the vast storehouse of dispersed and often unreachable medical information, Using registered nurses and toll-free phone lines, the process offers employees tutoring on what questions to ask doctors about their ailments. When treatments are prescribed. the service can provide the most current and prestigious published data on the probabilities of success and possible alternatives. Access to the research tends to highlight the difference in practice patterns among medical professionals, For example, a Vermont study found that the probabilities of children undergoing a tonsillectomy by age 15 was 70 percent in one community but only 10 percent in a nearby town.

At a minimum, such information gives a patient something solid to discuss with a doctor. Often enough, with their greater knowledge patients have second thoughts about treatment. --From the Ann Arbor News, 11/25/92
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Title Annotation:Health Issues; CareWise System
Publication:Special Delivery
Date:Dec 22, 1992
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