Saturday, December 12, 2009

Misconception - “Health care reform” will improve the delivery of care and offer us better care opportunities.

In fact, healthcare reform is not about healthcare; it is mostly about paying for medical care for the uninsured and only somewhat about the rising costs of medical care. I use the term medical care here to emphasize that today American “healthcare” is all about treating disease and injury and very little about promoting wellness and preventing illness. The reforms being proposed are about addressing the financing of medical care but not the quality, the safety or the way that healthcare will be delivered nor who will deliver it given the coming shortages of professionals at all levels. Certainly it is important to assure access to care for everyone but don’t let that confuse you into thinking your healthcare delivery will be improved. It will not.

1 comment:

CB said...

Steve...Hi! Take a look at Atul Gawande's recent article in the New Yorker. A lot of us, including me, think we know the answer to reforming the delivery system, but I think Atul makes a convincing argument that we need a lot of experimenting and a mechanism to spread good ideas. After all we are setting about to redesign a huge industry that doesn't want to change. The bills do include the authority to experiment with the delivery system and with payment methods. Maybe more will come of that than is obvious at first glance. Atul's article suggests how that might happen.


Praise for Dr Schimpff

The craft of science writing requires skills that are arguably the most underestimated and misunderstood in the media world. Dumbing down all too often gets mistaken for clarity. Showmanship frequently masks a poor presentation of scientific issues. Factoids are paraded in lieu of ideas. Answers are marketed at the expense of searching questions. By contrast, Steve Schimpff provides a fine combination of enlightenment and reading satisfaction. As a medical scientist he brings his readers encyclopedic knowledge of his subject. As a teacher and as a medical ambassador to other disciplines he's learned how to explain medical breakthroughs without unnecessary jargon. As an advisor to policymakers he's acquired the knack of cutting directly to the practical effects, showing how advances in medical science affect the big lifestyle and economic questions that concern us all. But Schimpff's greatest strength as a writer is that he's a physician through and through, caring above all for the person. His engaging conversational style, insights and fascinating treasury of cutting-edge information leave both lay readers and medical professionals turning his pages. In his hands the impact of new medical technologies and discoveries becomes an engrossing story about what lies ahead for us in the 21st century: as healthy people, as patients of all ages, as children, as parents, as taxpayers, as both consumers and providers of health services. There can be few greater stories than the adventure of what awaits our minds, bodies, budgets, lifespans and societies as new technologies change our world. Schimpff tells it with passion, vision, sweep, intelligence and an urgency that none of us can ignore.

-- N.J. Slabbert, science writer, co-author of Innovation, The Key to Prosperity: Technology & America's Role in the 21st Century Global Economy (with Aris Melissaratos, director of technology enterprise at the John Hopkins University).