Tuesday, February 9, 2010
PBS NewsHour Hits the Spot
Too much of the debate on Health Care reform this past year has been in the realm of propaganda- where gesture is substance and words are deeds- but last night (Feb.8) PBS Newshour had a stunning segment on the use of simple checklists in surgery to save lives and millions of dollars.
Similar results with checklists have been achieved in I.C.U.; Dartmouth College's Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice has been studying "unwarranted" variations in medical spending for years as has Oregon's Health & Science University*. Institute of Medicine's conservative estimate makes preventable hospital error the eighth leading cause of death annually, ahead of motor vehicle accidents (43,458), breast cancer (42,297) and AIDS (16,516).
InfoPOEMS, Patient Orientated Evidence that Matters, sorts through more than two thousand articles published each month in a hundred medical journals, looking for the few articles that could make a real difference in patient care. The research team, all of whom are experts in dissecting clinical trials, pick apart each article to make sure the results are credible. Only about one in forty studies makes the cut.
Although Dr.Arnold S. Relman (' Rescuing America's Health Care') says " the notion of an orderly and scientific rationing process, explicitly identified as such, and managed by experts who would be free of political and commercial influence and could persuade doctors and patients to accept their judgments, is unrealistic." all efforts in this direction should not be abandoned. They would be crucial to the success of any universal system.
Although statements like this do not make the sort of stirring, purple-tainted political stump speeches to which we have grown accustomed or focus much on the personal attraction and eloquence of those that make them, if Obama's "change" must go down in defeat (which is now virtually assured), this would be the best way to go about it.
Congratulations to PBSNewshour for their effort.