Friday, December 11, 2009

Misconception - Healthcare reform will have an impact on the advances in medical science.

This sounds logical but there are frankly amazing advances in medicine that are around the corner no matter what “reform” occurs. These advances are related to our national commitment to basic science and to engineering and computer science developments and their translation to clinical care. The National Institutes of Health, research organizations such as our medical schools, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries and the medical device industry are constantly bringing forth new knowledge and new approaches to care. Among them are advances in genomics, stem cells, transplantation, vaccines, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, imaging modalities, OR technologies and the digital or electronic medical record. [For more of this subject see “The Future of Medicine – Megatrends in Healthcare.”] The reforms being discussed will have little or no impact on the development of these advances; rather they are coming and they will have a major impact on the care we will receive in the near future.

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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).