Sunday, March 7, 2010

"The Doctor’s Failure to Cut Costs" by Dr. Pauline Chen in the NY Times

In the NY Times, Dr. Pauline Chen writes an interesting article titled, "The Doctor’s Failure to Cut Costs." She interviews Dr. Howard Brody, professor of family medicine and director of the Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Dr. Brody recently wrote an editorial in The New England Journal of Medicine, titled, "Medicine's Ethical Responsibility for Health Care Reform — The Top Five List"

So, is it all about money? No. But, listen to this response from Dr. Brody:
When you combine this love affair with high technology with a reimbursement system that pays so much more for technology — and less for thinking and sitting and talking with patients — you end up with an expensive kind of medicine, which, when practiced by doctors, puts more money into their pockets...
In actual fact, there’s such a low chance that technology will help all these patients.
I agree that the misuse of technology is contributing to soaring health care costs. There are some organizations that even promote "executive health" programs that include expensive medical tests and diagnostic studies (not necessarily based on evidence, but based on strategies that will profit the hospital systems).  I believe that technology can significantly improve the world of medicine and public health, but only if it's used properly.

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