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Lead Consultant:

Tim Lynch
Mr. Lynch founded Info-Lynk Consulting Services in 1985 because of the belief that all too often information is the missing link in health care decision-making.
Read Tim's bio

Publications:

Healthcare Advocacy: Only God doesn’t need an advisor
2008 Care Giver and Early Stage Conference, Edmonton, October 25 2008

Beyond the end of the stethoscope, Richmond Review,
A commentary on the need for integrating low risk private surgical facilities into the Canada's public health system.
March 30 2006

MDs are their own worst enemy, Richmond Review,
A commentary on the battle between Dr. Brian Day and Dr. Jack Burak for Presidency of the Canadian Medical Association.
August 10, 2006

Executive Summary
BC 2003 Forest Fires: A Test of Quality Management in Health Services Delivery

January 30, 2004
Prepared forThe Ministry of Health Planning Victoria, BC & The Interior Health Authority Kelowna, BC
(PDF file size 125Kb)

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT OF SARS:
A QUANTUM LEAP OR A PARADIGM SHIFT?

Risk Management in Canadian Health Care
VOLUME 5, NUMBER 6
DECEMBER 2003
(PDF file size 469Kb)

SARS in Toronto - Acting locally, reacting globally
Submitted on April 11th 2003 to International Travel Insurance Journal

The Romanow Commission: An Opportunity Lost
Hospital Quarterly Journal Spring 2003
(PDF file size 120Kb)
Background Information

Vaccination Programs in Canada:
Summary of a study conducted by Info-Lynk Consulting in October 1989

Health insurance - don't leave home without it
ITIJ Journal Spring 2002

Primary Care Reform in Ontario: The Emperor Has No Clothes
www.hospitalquarterly.com

Medicare in a modern world
The Vancouver Sun, March 14 2002

American / Canadian relations, post September 11th: accommodation or surrender?
ITIJ Journal
Nov/Dec 2001

Choice in health care
The Globe & Mail
Nov. 12 2001

London, UK Travel Insurance Conference Regulations of Canadian Travel Industry
May 2001

Vancouver Hosts Insurance Summit, Report on meeting of the International Insurance Society 2000 seminar, Vancouver B.C.,

DEBATING THE DATA: Is there an entrepreneurial option to primary-care reform? Medical Post
-May 4, 1999-

HEALTH CARE DELIVERY: Rewarding excellence is the solution
Medical Post
-February 9, 1999-

A Book Review: The Billion Dollar Molecule,
Toronto Biotechnology Initiative, (TBI) Bioscan, June 1998

 

Services / Health Care

Print Window

Medical Post - VOLUME 35, NO. 17, May 4, 1999

DEBATING THE DATA: Is there an entrepreneurial option to primary-care reform?

By Tim Lynch

The reporting of the primary care reform (PCR) experience in Ontario by the Medical Post begs two questions:

1) Is PCR part of an overall strategy to "bureaucratize" medicine by the bureaucratic/pseudo-academic/academic conspiracy that manages health? or

2) Is PCR a Machiavellian plot by the OMA to preserve the status quo for yet another three years?

Regardless, the overall impression gained is that doctors are essentially civil servants with entrepreneurial privileges. Evidently there is a battle between both stakeholder groups for the minds of doctors submitting to the civil-servant model or subscribing to the independent solo-practice model as the only alternative.

We are told the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is an information system that can be used, essentially by the bureaucratic/pseudo-academic stakeholder interests, to monitor, evaluate, co-ordinate and manage (control) medical practice. But no one seems to be asking: Who owns the data in the first place? Surely an argument can be made that since most of the data being sought is dependent on recording the decisions that doctors make, then doctors own the data.

Admittedly the disorganized sets of data contained in the medical record files of an independent solo practitioner are of little worth and serve largely to justify the role of the medical licensing authorities, should they choose to visit. However, through the marvels of modern information technology, systematic consolidation of such data sets, along with their integration to referral data sets - would constitute a valuable entity, particularly if it were complemented by a synergistic and comprehensive group practice.

The further amalgamation of such groups, along with other health-care outlet alignments, would lead to a medical practice network enterprise independent of government and worth investing in as a 21st century "knowledge-based" corporation.

Understandably, the administration of such a resource would have to serve the audit requirements of a third-party payer. In addition, there would be a need to comply with requirements set down by the professional licensing authorities.

Any other entity wishing to have access to such data should be charged sufficiently so that capital, technical, analytical maintenance and upgraded costs are covered.

In the 21st century the ownership of systematically organized data that is current, relevant, reliable and readable should offer a higher return than investing in, say, office real estate arrangements. The more integrated such data systems are, the more valuable they become and would constitute a large part of the equity value of a 21st century medical practice.

Notwithstanding the federal government¼s desire to fund a large, national health-care information system, experience has shown that such monolithic bureaucratic enterprises are subject to the quality of the data they collect.

Primary-care physicians are the front-line data generators in health. But since they have no ownership in such systems, what incentives are there for physicians to comply with all data-capturing instructions all of the time?

Such a resource is more likely to succeed when those responsible for creating and entering the data have some ownership in its integrity than through publicly funded, eminently bureaucratic institutes, foundations, academic centres of excellence, etc.

It is unfortunate the federal advisers did not recommend a tax incentive scheme to encourage physicians to assume more responsibility for the data they create.

For this to happen, primary care physicians would have to become more entrepreneurial and understand the responsibilities and obligations of data ownership as well as its rewards. Please send comments to: tim@infolynk.on.ca

Tim Lynch is a health-services reimbursement consultant with Info-Lynk Consulting Services in Toronto.


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