Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Making Health Care Better

A well thought out commentary on health care reform can be found in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. A three-part commentary called "Health care reform is needed" is authored by Drs. Claud Roland Josh Schwartzberg. Part 1 can be found here and part 2 here. I assume part 3 will appear on Thursday.

The commentary fits in very nicely with an article published in the NYT Magazine last Sunday titled: "Making Health Care Better". Here is a taste of the article:
But there is one important way in which medicine never quite adopted the scientific method. The explosion of medical research over the last century has produced a dizzying number of treatments for different ailments. For someone with heart disease, there is bypass surgery, stenting or simply drugs and behavior changes. For a man with early-stage prostate cancer, there is surgery, radiation, proton-beam therapy or so-called watchful waiting. To enter mainstream use, any such treatment typically needs to clear a high bar. It will be subject to randomized trials, statistical-significance tests, the peer-review process of academic journals and the scrutiny of government regulators. Yet once a treatment enters the mainstream — once we know whether it works in certain situations — science is largely left behind. The next questions — when to use it and on which patients — become matters of judgment, not measurement. The decision is, once again, left to a doctor’s informed intuition.

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