A Transparent Health Care Industry Focused on Patient Outcomes

Question: In what way should health care be focused on outcomes?

 

Regina Herzlinger: What do we know about outcomes in health care? Well let's say you needed a mastectomy. How much would you know about the surgeon who's going to perform that mastectomy on you? About her mortality rates? How many people like you died when they got this surgery? About her morbidity rates? How many people became infirm? How many people got a deadly clot? How many people had a sponge left inside their body? How many people got an infection that they absolutely could not shake? How many people were readmitted 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, to keep repairing what's going wrong with that surgery? Do you know where you could find that information? I don't either.

Clearly what we need is much more transparency in health care.

I have long proposed the health care equivalent of the SEC [Securities Exchange Commission]. The SEC has been a miserable failure in its regulatory functions, but transparency--it's incredible. Countries all over the world emulate the transparency functions of the SEC. I can go to the SEC's website and within three seconds I can find most of what I would want to know about any publicly traded corporation.

What can I know about my doctor, my hospital, my insurer, my dialysis center? Zero.

We need a federal agency that forces disclosure of outcomes. And by outcomes I mean, real outcomes. How many people died? How many people get a clot? How many people get an infection? How many people can function well after whatever is done to them? That's one thing of what we need.

Once we measure outcomes, the health care system will reorganize itself so that it can deliver outcomes. Right now, it can't make you better for your diabetes, your AIDS, your heart disease. All it can do is optimize the hospital part of that, optimize the doctor part of it, optimize the laboratory part of it.

Anybody who studied systems analysis knows if you optimize all the many little pieces of the system, that's not the same as optimizing the whole system. A system that measures outcomes will force a change in how health care is delivered. That will make it simultaneously better and cheaper.

 

Recorded on: May 27, 2009.

 

Harvard professor Regina Herzlinger calls for opening our opaque medical industry.

Do you worry too much? Stoicism can help

How imagining the worst case scenario can help calm anxiety.

Credit: OLIVIER DOULIERY via Getty Images
Personal Growth
  • Stoicism is the philosophy that nothing about the world is good or bad in itself, and that we have control over both our judgments and our reactions to things.
  • It is hardest to control our reactions to the things that come unexpectedly.
  • By meditating every day on the "worst case scenario," we can take the sting out of the worst that life can throw our way.
Keep reading Show less

Study: People will donate more to charity if they think something’s in it for them

A study on charity finds that reminding people how nice it feels to give yields better results than appealing to altruism.

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels
Personal Growth
  • A study finds asking for donations by appealing to the donor's self-interest may result in more money than appealing to their better nature.
  • Those who received an appeal to self-interest were both more likely to give and gave more than those in the control group.
  • The effect was most pronounced for those who hadn't given before.
Keep reading Show less

U.S. Navy controls inventions that claim to change "fabric of reality"

Inventions with revolutionary potential made by a mysterious aerospace engineer for the U.S. Navy come to light.

Credit: Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • U.S. Navy holds patents for enigmatic inventions by aerospace engineer Dr. Salvatore Pais.
  • Pais came up with technology that can "engineer" reality, devising an ultrafast craft, a fusion reactor, and more.
  • While mostly theoretical at this point, the inventions could transform energy, space, and military sectors.
Keep reading Show less

160-million-year-old ‘Monkeydactyl’ was the first animal to develop opposable thumbs

The 'Monkeydactyl' was a flying reptile that evolved highly specialized adaptations in the Mesozoic Era.

Credit: Zhou et al.
Surprising Science
  • The 'Monkeydactly', or Kunpengopterus antipollicatus, was a species of pterosaur, a group of flying reptiles that were the first vertebrates to evolve the ability of powered flight.
  • In a recent study, a team of researchers used microcomputed tomography scanning to analyze the anatomy of the newly discovered species, finding that it was the first known species to develop opposable thumbs.
  • As highly specialized dinosaurs, pterosaurs boasted unusual anatomy that gave them special advantages as aerial predators in the Mesozoic Era.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast