laborations between managed care organizations and traditional sponsors of research, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and facilitates the development of joint research agendas. Because of its large and diverse membership, AAHP can assist in assessing many aspects of the delivery of health care. Additionally, AAHP is responsible for testing the measures developed in the public health sector, such as CDC's immunization record system, and for developing demonstration programs in managed care organizations, such as the Tuberculosis Surveillance Program.
Given its position, AAHP can also pursue other educational and outreach opportunities through the managed care industry. Not only can AAHP encourage the dissemination of methods on behalf of the managed care industry, for example, by facilitating the creation of managed care guidelines, but it can also use data for the purpose of monitoring health care. For instance, AAHP could play an important facilitating role in the development and implementation of standards for dispensing data on antibiotic use. This would be an important development, since information about antibiotic use could be available (in theory) for a large and growing fraction of the U.S. population. In addition, data from managed care organizations could serve as a surveillance tool to monitor and address potential emerging infections.
Presented by Benjamin Schwartz, M.D.
Deputy Director of the Epidemiology and Surveillance Division, National Immunization Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The CDC and its National Center for Infectious Diseases recognize that managed care organizations are well positioned to provide infectious disease-related health care education to providers and patients. This is facilitated by the availability of defined panels of providers with whom there is ongoing communication and a defined population of subscribers with whom communication may contribute to satisfaction and retention. Managed care organizations may also reap short-and long-term benefits from the provision of infectious disease-related health care education to providers and patients, including improved quality of care, significant cost savings, improved health care practices, and better member satisfaction. Despite these incentives, however, barriers must be overcome before a managed care organization can effectively implement infectious disease-related health care education activities. First, managed care organizations must judge the significance of a problem and determine the relative costs and benefits of intervention. Often, data that would allow organizations to choose where best to focus their efforts are lacking. Second, managed care or-