Thursday, June 24, 2010
A Disease Industry vs. A Healthcare System
Eventually, as pressures mount, there will be a push for a change to a true healthcare system from the current disease-based system. This will probably take a fair length of time given that Congress did not address the payment system in the healthcare reform legislation. Basically on this point, they left it as just more of the same.
But there could be a breakthrough. Some group, some organization or some jurisdictions might create a model, gain some success and that might lead to wider adoption. Some of the large multidisciplinary “clinics” like Mayo, Geisinger, Dean and others which have contracts for “covered lives” have had success in giving more comprehensive care yet reducing costs. And some insurer/provider combined organizations – such as Kaiser-Permanente – have shown the same beneficial effects. Perhaps others will begin to adopt their examples toward better health care at lower cost.
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).