Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Why can't the practice of medicine be more like a widget factory or running an airline?

Perhaps goaded on- in part by the urging of insurers and third party payers to save money- we are from time to time treated to a commentary by a giant or would be giant of industry or business to instruct the generally hapless medical profession about how to run a railroad.

When the extremely competent and accomplished Andy Grove on Intel editorialized on this topic in JAMA , Roy Poses of Health Care Renewal responded with a post worth reading and which more than suggested that Mr. Grove may not know much of the doctor business.

We are often admonished to emulate the principles embodied in the safety practices found in the airline industry and there is truth to be found there. A recent post by Aggravated DocSurg entitled "Fly me to the OR" is a gem -nothing unique there-which makes the point how little being a surgeon has to do with flying an airplane.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

There are already systems by which an airplane can take off, navigate, and land without the touch of a human hand. That will never be true of surgery (the robots will always be guided) or of any other branch of medicine. Likewise, it will never be possible either to boil the practice down to an algorhythm or to standarize criteria by which meaningful to evaluate the practitioners of it. As desirable as it may be, in therory.

The Independent Urologist said...

I love when "they" bring in the "experts." Do you know who the "expert" was who developed the template for the modern HMO. It was a fellow named Einthoven (not of the triangle fame). Einthoven also developed the winning strategy used in Vietnam, the body count. I love these experts. Who will they bring out next, Big Bird?