Editor's Corner

This week another Dartmouth study showed more dramatic variation in healthcare resource use between different areas, this time in the care of the
elderly in academic medical centers in the last 6 months of life. And again
there appeared to be no difference in quality or outcomes between those who
use more resources and those, including the Mayo Clinic, who use
substantially fewer. The researchers extrapolated their point to show that
the conventional wisdom, which is that we need more physicians and more
resources, is actually not the case. What we need is for the resources we
have to be deployed in a more efficient way. That's a tough message for
people working in healthcare to hear, but it's one to which Medicare, which
is already moving toward pay-for-performance, is likely to be pretty
receptive. If we are going to cure the problem of our high-cost
inefficient healthcare system, that will mean significant changes in the
way healthcare is organized, which in turn will mean more efficient use of
physicians and eventually fewer of them. - Matthew