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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Doctors, Not Toys, Make People Feel Better

June 1, 2009, 6:12 PM

Introducing quality assurance into the American health care system is one of the topmost priorities of the administration's reform plan. To explain just what quality would look like, Big Think spoke with doctor and author Ross Donaldson this morning.

"Outcomes are a very low part of the American system," Ross Donaldson said in his analysis of the current framework.

In an outcomes-based health care system standardized records would track a patient's trajectory from malady to recovery.

Donaldson pinpointed much of the reason we have not fully adopted an outcomes-based system on the incentives-based structure in which medical professionals currently operate. Performance in many hospitals is based on the number of tests and procedures they deliver, not the patient's final bill of health.

Donaldson touted the electronic medical record which he said has an immense potential to bring coherence to the system. Still, he said, there is an over-reliance on technology in the American system.

"We have every last toy that you could potentially have," he said, though we lack a way to fully integrate the toys into the health care superstructure.

The full interview with Dr. Donaldson will be available shortly.


Doctors, Not Toys, Make Peo...

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