I'm late posting, but I've been dealing with a medical issue that will, it turns out, require me to physically deliver copies of a report from one doctor's office to another. Apparently the horse-drawn carriage normally used to distribute results is at the blacksmith's.
With that, I now turn to a new Institute of Medicine report that finds, astonishingly, that "America's health care system has become too complex and costly to continue business as usual."
That comes from the press release, which goes on:
The committee calculated that about 30 percent of health spending in 2009 -- roughly $750 billion -- was wasted on unnecessary services, excessive administrative costs, fraud, and other problems. Moreover, inefficiencies cause needless suffering. By one estimate, roughly 75,000 deaths might have been averted in 2005 if every state had delivered care at the quality level of the best performing state.
A few news organizations were impressed with the $750-billion dollar figure, but most had little to say about the report, entitled Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America.
I often find myself criticizing news organizations and reporters for not covering something they should have. In this case, I'm happy to say that they were correct to mostly ignore this report. Can anyone possible be surprised by any of this? Many news organizations did blog posts or otherwise took brief note of the report, but I couldn't find any stories that addressed what a "continuously learning health care" system might be. I got an image of a Borg-like assimilation; but we probably don't want the Borg in charge of healthcare.
The authors undermine themselves by noting that their report "builds on landmark IOM reports published in the past two decades, including To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System, Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st century, and Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care." If those reports were such landmarks, why didn't they do anything to improve the healthcare system?
I would have appreciated a story calling out the Institute of Medicine for letting us know, at considerable expense, what any of us can find out when we get sick. Nevertheless, I'm glad that most news organizations mostly ignored it. The New York Times ran one graf from the AP story, which ran longer but put the report in the context of the presidential campaign's debate over healthcare. So much for the Institute of Medicine's latest landmark report.