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Surprising Science

Doctors, Not Toys, Make People Feel Better

Introducing quality assurance into the American health care system is one of the topmost priorities of the administration’s reform plan. To explain just what quality would look like, Big Think spoke with doctor and author Ross Donaldson this morning.

“Outcomes are a very low part of the American system,” Ross Donaldson said in his analysis of the current framework.

In an outcomes-based health care system standardized records would track a patient’s trajectory from malady to recovery.

Donaldson pinpointed much of the reason we have not fully adopted an outcomes-based system on the incentives-based structure in which medical professionals currently operate. Performance in many hospitals is based on the number of tests and procedures they deliver, not the patient’s final bill of health.

Donaldson touted the electronic medical record which he said has an immense potential to bring coherence to the system. Still, he said, there is an over-reliance on technology in the American system.

“We have every last toy that you could potentially have,” he said, though we lack a way to fully integrate the toys into the health care superstructure.

The full interview with Dr. Donaldson will be available shortly.


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