Bending the Curve
Malpractice reform is an essential component of bending the curve on health-care costs. The evolving standards of practice created by lawsuits and trial lawyers has altered the landscape of traditional medical practice and its time to re-align. There is no question that health-care costs are rising because many doctors order tests which may not be necessary.
In my days of clinical practice I was sometimes swayed by peer and market pressure to order tests that were against my conventional wisdom. I was fortunate to have trained under some of the most brilliant doctors of our time and the best lesson I learned was that there is nothing more valuable than a detailed patient history. Most of the diagnosis can be gleaned just from that.
In order for us to truly bend the curve on health-care costs, it will be prudent to allow the art of medicine to regain its rightful place. The U.S. has enjoyed a robust system of modern advancements but our resources are clearly limited.
The harsh reality is that rationing does happen. The concept of everything for everyone has clearly been at the root of many our national crises.
Malpractice reform is not the silver bullet.The ability to set caps on litigation and other standards of practice will require a solid infrastructure to manage and provide data. This does not exist. Malpractice reform can only be effective if we stop using snapshots to draw conclusions.
September 15, 2009; 10:36 AM ET
Health Care Reform
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