Policy Modification

Policy modification allows all previous decisions to be revisited and modified. Policies that were initially pertinent may become inappropriate over time. Almost all policies have unintended consequences, which is why many stakeholders seek to modify policies continuously. Policies may negatively impact the population in myriad unexpected ways. Examples of unintended consequences include the following:


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• The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was created to protect privacy but wreaks havoc when hospital staff are prevented from sharing by phone with family members any information about the status of their gravely ill, out-of-state college-age daughter.

• Information technology designed to capture high-quality data during clinical visits has created an unsatisfying intrusion into the patient-provider relationship.

• Placing caps on Medicare drug benefits to rein in costs has created an uptick in preventable hospital admissions as a result of patients not having access to medicine.


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