I am doing more and more work in healthcare. I am not engaging in the policy debate—or at least only marginally. Instead, I am interested in why we spend so much money, and yet trail Bosnia in life expectancy. (Our rank: 45.)
Along the way, and recently, I came across Phillip Longman's Best Care Anywhere: Why VA Healthcare Is Better Than Yours. All I'll say is that it is a stunning book, and the claim holds up.
Consider: "Generally, the more prestigious the hospital you check into, and the more eminent and numerous the physicians who attend you, the more likely you are to receive low-quality or even dangerous and unnecessary care."
Attached you will find some extracts from the book (and from Shannon Brownlee's Overtreated) that I've collected. If you are interested in 1/7th of our economy, let alone your health, read on. (One result of the book is my declining a major test that would have been of marginal value—and since it was intrusive, it would have exposed me to many of the factors that lead to our hospitals unnecessarily killing between 100,000 and 300,000 patients per year.*)
[*"The results are deadly. In addition to the 98,000 killed by medical errors in hospitals and the 90,000 deaths caused by hospital infections, another 126,000 die from their doctor's failure to observe evidence-based protocols for just four common conditions: hypertension, heart attack, pneumonia, and colorectal cancer." TP: total 314,000. FYI: In one evaluation, by the prestigious RAND consultants, the VA system ranked first on 294 measures of quality, compared to other major systems.]
[Now I'm starting on the very new Our Daily Meds, by Melody Petersen—yet another damning treatise.]
Before blogging became all the rage, Tom was posting book reviews and Observations (essentially early blog posts) to this site. You can find the archives below.
What we're talking about
on the front page.