Skip to main content
  1. Tech
  2. Gadgets & Tech
  3. Tech Gear

Attacking Healthcare Costs Where it Counts

See also

Kudos for Barbara Sadick, a features writer for The Wall Street Journal, who today pointed a finger at the real culprit in the crisis of rising healthcare costs. It's not the vague bogeyman problem with the health-insurance business that liberal politicians have been waving at us for decades. It's not medicare fraud. It's not drug companies gouging helpless users of prescription medications. It's not any of those straw-man issues that decoy us from facing the real issue.

The problem is poor decision making. Especially, poor decision making on the part of patients, who want to be pampered with the "best" treatment possible, regardless of its cost or appropriateness.

I remember an old quote: "I have met the enemy, and they is us!"

Thirty-five years ago, when I was engaged in making my paltry contribution to development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), we talked about how medical diagnostic tests never go away. Whenever a new and better (spelled m-o-r-e-e-x-p-e-n-s-i-v-e) procedure gets developed, doctors fearing censure for not doing their utmost for their patients rush to use it. They don't, however, drop the old test. What if the old test finds something that the new test misses? What if the new test finds something the old test misses? Will I be liable for the error?

We can't just blame doctors, either. In a crisis, patients, not having the least idea what's happening to them, make ill-informed emotional decisions in a panic. Or, people looking for attention run to the doctor when there's really nothing wrong.

We have a host of problems driving healthcare costs up, but all of them boil down to a culture of poor decision making when it comes to medical care.

Ms. Sadick's articles do not provide the final answers. They, however, at least ask the right questions. The issue is not who pays for medical care. The issue is how to improve the way we make the hundreds of thousands of individual decisions that affect medical costs. We have the best understanding of medical science ever. We have access to the most powerful medical technology ever concieved. We're just stupid about how we use them.

Advertisement

Don't Miss

  • Massive
    Ubisoft Massive exclusive: 'The Division', PS4 & Xbox One, Activision to Ubisoft & more
    Camera
    Games Exclusive
  • iPhone
    Get your wallet ready: The next iPhone could cost $100 more than your last one
    Video
    Tech Buzz
  • Civ
    Need to catch up on 'Sid Meier's Civilization'? Here is everything you need to know
    Camera
    Games Feature
  • Google Glass
    See how Google Glass is letting sick kids go to the zoo without leaving the hospital
    Tech News
  • Upcoming
    These are 2014's biggest PS4, Xbox One and Wii U games
    Camera
    Games Feature
  • Google
    Google has filed for a patent to develop contact lenses capable of taking photos
    Video
    Headlines

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about Examiner.com and apply today!