Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments (2)

U.S. Healthcare: When Is Enough Enough?

A new survey in the journal Health Affairs synthesizes nearly everything I believe is wrong with the U.S. healthcare system. The survey found that patients believe that more care is better, that the latest and most expensive treatments are the best, that none of their doctors provide substandard care, and that evidence-based guidelines are a pretext for denying them the care they need and deserve.

Sigh.

Until we can retrain consumers (that would be all of us) to understand that in medicine more is NOT better, that evidence-based guidelines may translate in some instances into less but better care, that doctors are falliable and should be questioned, and that the cost of a treatment has nothing to do with the quality, we will never get out of the healthcare quagmire in which we find ourselves.

Your thoughts?

*This blog post was originally published at A Medical Writer's Musings on Medicine, Health Care, and the Writing Life*


You may also like these posts

Read comments »


2 Responses to “U.S. Healthcare: When Is Enough Enough?”

  1. Beau McNeff says:

    I think this is an interesting point. As we deal with the healthcare reform changes, consumers will become more aware of the interactions with providers and the healthcare system. Costs should be tied to need, in that, we should be able to charge people for the cost of a procedure if they insist on it regardless of medical effectiveness. The more people have to pay for the over-use of care that they demand, the less they will demand it. Over time we should be shifting our focus to maintenance of care and preventive medicine, not necessarily the latest and greatest surgeries and miracle pills.

  2. Cheryl Handy says:

    IMHO, a major problem with health care is that well meaning clinicians (treating docs) are admitting the patients into the hospital and then the differing incentives (between treating physicians and hospitalists) are evident.

    Hospitalists want the patient discharged asap because the hospital reimbursement is for fewer days than the treating physician (if he were allowed to treat pt during admission).

    Hospitalists have told me that their job is to save the hospital money. For example, the treating doctor knows the elderly man has a long history of UTI and “recommends” (bc he is not allowed to order) a urinalysis. But the hospitalist ignores the recommendation and performs only a urine dip stick test. The family takes the patient to personal treating urologist immediate upon discharge and the pt does in fact have a raging UTI that is too high into the body to be caught on dip stick.

    Is that rationing of care? Is that hospitalist being arrogant? The patient is getting differing recommendations from the same medical team.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »