Objective. - To evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of, as well as the attitudes of health care professionals and insurers toward, the development of regional autopsy services. Design. - Survey of 150 medical school departments of pathology in the United States and Canada and 12 representative major health insurers in the United States. Results. - Of the 25 respondents from the pathology departments, most were in favor of regionalization of autopsy services, if properly underwritten. Of the five respondents from the health insurers, most were disinterested in the autopsy as a measure of outcome and unwilling to provide support. Conclusions. - Health care is being regionalized around networks of insurers rather than hospitals. The networks are defined by a mixture of hospitals, physician groups, and other health care professionals. Within networks, the goal is to subscribe groups of patients, covered lives, for all medical needs from primary to complex care. As the economic risk of caring for patients is shifted to physicians, the incentive to provide service at the lowest possible cost grows, as does the need to assure that medical mismanagement does not occur. To provide quality care at affordable costs, it is necessary that outcomes, including deaths, be professionally evaluated. The present system of death investigation involves hospital colleagues and is potentially biased. Regional autopsy centers that provide timely expert information should be part of the health care system. Medical schools are potential sites for regional autopsy programs because they have the personnel needed to conduct appropriate death-related studies. Most schools are affiliated programmatically and economically with surrounding hospitals and physicians in a manner in which outcomes, costs, and quality of clinical service are of common interest.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine|
|State||Published - Aug 1996|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Medical Laboratory Technology