Learning by Surfing: Issue 7

Short, staycation version of Learning by Surfing: health care reading.

International health care is on the rise.  Which is good news for us in the United States since it will (eventually) force health care organizations to become more value driven.  But Americans going overseas for medical services often don’t receive the same level of care as the local residents.  From The New York Times, on health care for the poor in India:

“The poor are not dying and sick because they do not go to seek medical care,” he said. “In fact, the poor are going to doctors in droves. There are no good options for the poor. The private hospitals and care they are able to access is of very low quality, and when they try and access government care, they receive no attention whatsoever.”

Diversification.  The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center understands it as best as anyone.  UPMC and GE announced a joint venture this week, from the Health Blog:

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is one of those business-savvy hospital systems that almost makes you forget the “non” in nonprofit hospital. Case in point: The health system is putting $20 million into a joint venture with General Electric to launch a new imaging company.

The company, Omnyx LLC, aims to create a “virtual microscope” that would scan and store images electronically, the WSJ reports. It would be used by labs where pathologists look at microscopic slides to analyze human tissue — a field that’s been slow to digitize, partly because it can be tricky to turn some types of microscopic images into digital images.

When HD TVs first came out the prices were very high.  Us conscientious consumers waited for the prices to come down before purchasing.  And they did.  Why doesn’t this happen with medical technology? From Half MD (via Kevin MD):

Few professions can be as economically wasteful as medicine. Sure, we all love to bitch about politicians, but medicine really should take the award for financial pissing. We build wonderful technologies that can look at the inside of a person’s heart, check the electrical activity of the brain, read any component in a person’s blood, and even watch a baby move inside of the womb. However, all of these devices are made unnecessarily expensive by using non-standardized equipment and are being produced as new models that do nothing to bring down the cost of older versions.

But the end result is the same: medical equipment can be produced at a cheap cost. The current system does nothing to reward us for developing innovative, cost-effective devices. Instead, we continue to throw away money on machines that can be produced by hobbyists for 1/100 of the cost.

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