November 21, 2009

IT ISN'T "BRAIN SURGERY," IT'S CARPENTRY:

The Henry Ford of Heart Surgery: In India, a Factory Model for Hospitals Is Cutting Costs and Yielding Profits (GEETA ANAND, 11/21/09, WSJ)

Dr. Shetty, who entered the limelight in the early 1990s as Mother Teresa's cardiac surgeon, offers cutting-edge medical care in India at a fraction of what it costs elsewhere in the world. His flagship heart hospital charges $2,000, on average, for open-heart surgery, compared with hospitals in the U.S. that are paid between $20,000 and $100,000, depending on the complexity of the surgery.

The approach has transformed health care in India through a simple premise that works in other industries: economies of scale. By driving huge volumes, even of procedures as sophisticated, delicate and dangerous as heart surgery, Dr. Shetty has managed to drive down the cost of health care in his nation of one billion.

His model offers insights for countries worldwide that are struggling with soaring medical costs, including the U.S. as it debates major health-care overhaul.

"Japanese companies reinvented the process of making cars. That's what we're doing in health care," Dr. Shetty says. "What health care needs is process innovation, not product innovation."


Modern medicine, as we've seen in the cancer scan hysteria, has a mystique around it that it completely unjustified by the results it achieves. Hygiene, sanitation, nutrition, vaccination and periodic hackwork are all that's required.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 21, 2009 10:04 AM
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