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

Latest Posts

200 Healthcare Systems In 4 Minutes

Hans Rosling, director of the Gapminder Foundation, just released another spectacular video featuring 200 years of 200 healthcare systems with 12,000 numbers in four minutes. Enjoy:

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

Sizing Up Two Patients And Two Healthcare Systems: Part 2


For those who are landing on this page for the first time, be sure to read the background FIRST to these case presentations. The intent here is to compare and contrast two patients, one insured and the other uninsured, from the United States and England as care is delivered today. The U.S. cases are described in detail in this blog and the corresponding cases, British-style, are described on Sarah Clarke, MD’s blog from England.

CASE #1: The U.S. Case of Mr. Thurgood Powell

The ER radio sounds: (*bleeeeee, deeeeeeeeeppppp*) “Rampart, we have a 57 year old white male en route with a 45 minute history of substernal chest pain and diaphoresis. Initial single-lead EKG discloses ST segment elevation. One ASA given, nitro given, BP 96/47, pulse 110, respirations 22, pt diaphoretic…”

ER doctor: “Code cor activated. Cath lab ready. Proceed as soon as possible.” Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

Sizing It Up: Two Patients, Two Healthcare Systems

Being at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, I had a unique opportunity to meet with an interventional cardiologist from “across the pond” in England: Sarah Clarke, MD.

Sarah is a Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at Papworth Hospital, Cambridge UK. Her undergraduate years were spent at the University of Cambridge, UK and postgraduate training was undertaken in the region. She attained an MD from the Univeristy of Cambridge. She was awarded a Fellowship in Interventional Cardiology at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and returned to take up her Consultant post in the UK in 2002. In 2006 Dr Clarke was appointed the Clinical Director of Cardiac Services at Papworth. Papworth Hospital is a 240ish-bed hospital that performs about 2,000 interventional cardiology procedures per year.

We thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast two heart patients — one with insurance and one without insurance — from our two health care systems, to illustrate how these patients obtain health coverage, might be managed, and how things look from the patient’s perspective. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

Warning: Graphic Health Politics

A friend sent me this interesting graph from the blog of the National Geographic.

You’ll have to click on it to see a bigger version.  It captures a lot of data very elegantly on a single graph–  Professor Tufte would love it.

What it shows is health care spending per person across a group of countries, along with life expectancies, average number of doctor visits per year, and whether a country has a system of universal health coverage.  Although putting all of this data on one graph is novel, the graph makes what by now is one of the oldest political arguments for reform – for all the money they United States spends on health care we don’t get a good deal.

So why blog about this graph? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at See First Blog*

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 »