The present flu shot controversy illustrates a big problem health IT promises to deal with but that may prove intractable.
Compliance. (Image from CBS.)
MSNBC today has a comment from bioethics expert Arthur Kaplan telling health care workers they need to get the flu shot or find another line of work.
Many workers are complaining their rights are being infringed by such orders. What happens when your kid gets in the way of their righteous sneeze?
There is even more good news on the vaccine front, a study indicating that getting your seasonal flu shot may offer limited protection against H1N1.
If only half of us are willing to comply with a single shot, having been informed by government, ethicists and the media that it's necessary and good for us, how will we improve compliance with more complex directives?
One key to bending the cost curve is using data to communicate with patients what they need to do in order to stay well, to keep from having a chronic condition like diabetes, and to manage it once they have it.
The data will be delivered to doctors, nurses, and other health care workers, with whom we will supposedly stay in regular contact. It can even be delivered through Web sites. Are you eating your veggies? Are you exercising? Did you quit smoking? Really? The data says different.
Holy Nanny State, Batman!
Research has shown that compliance rises with data, but there is also resistance to compliance. Little research has been done on where the "compliance ceiling" may exist, and what to do about people who ignore a doctor's advice.
What if non-compliance replaces the pre-existing condition as a reason for denying coverage? We may be about to find out.