July 6, 2009

THERE ARE NO ADVANCES IN MEDICINE, JUST BETTER HYGEINE AND NUTRITION (via Glenn Dryfoos):

Health Care’s Infectious Losses (PAUL O’NEILL, 7/06/09, NY Times)

Let’s consider that $1 trillion of waste. If we could capture all of it, the savings over 10 years would be five times what President Obama has said he will extract from insurance companies over the same period. The president’s vision of bringing down health care inflation by 1.5 percent a year over the next decade would not be a victory, but a capitulation to the enormous waste in the delivery of medical care.

The president says he likes audacious goals. Here is one: ask medical providers to eliminate all hospital-acquired infections within two years. This is hardly pie in the sky: doctors and administrators already know how to do it. It requires scrupulous adherence to simple but profoundly important practices like hand-washing, proper preparation of surgical sites and assiduous care and maintenance of central lines and urinary catheters. With these small steps, we would no longer have the suffering and death associated with infections acquired in hospitals and we would save tens of billions of dollars every year — money we should have in hand before new health-care entitlements are enacted.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 6, 2009 12:54 PM
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