Doctors, Not Toys, Make People Feel Better

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.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Is this why time speeds up as we age?

We take fewer mental pictures per second.

(MPH Photos/giphy/yShutterstock/Big Think)
Mind & Brain
  • Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
  • In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
  • The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
Keep reading Show less

New alternative to Trump's wall would create jobs, renewable energy, and increase border security

A consortium of scientists and engineers have proposed that the U.S. and Mexico build a series of guarded solar, wind, natural gas and desalination facilities along the entirety of the border.

Credit: Purdue University photo/Jorge Castillo Quiñones
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The proposal was recently presented to several U.S. members of Congress.
  • The plan still calls for border security, considering all of the facilities along the border would be guarded and connected by physical barriers.
  • It's undoubtedly an expensive and complicated proposal, but the team argues that border regions are ideal spots for wind and solar energy, and that they could use the jobs and fresh water the energy park would create.
Keep reading Show less

Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.