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Solving the U.S. Health and Healthcare Issues – a Big Job!

Health and Healthcare are topics on everyone’s minds.  Is U.S. healthcare cost justified by the outcomes achieved?

Tomas Philipson, leader of a research team and University of Chicago economist.  In the team’s recent research paper, published in the latest Health Affairs issue, says that quality may well suffer if cuts to U.S. healthcare spending are made.  In examination of U.S. healthcare, their main focus is on cancer spending and survival times — comparing patients in the U.S. and ten European Countries from 1983 to 1999 (no available data after 1999 was available).

What we already know was confirmed by their study: that treating a cancer patient (average cost) is $15,000 greater in the U.S.  But by the same token, U.S. cancer patients live nearly two years longer.  The main focus was on survival rates of prostate and breast cancer patients.  According to the research, and using “value of life” generally accepted measures, the greater benefits justify the greater cost by 4:1!

So according to Philipson and his research team, consumers in the U.S. may well “get what they pay for”.  While some providers charge more than others, it may be that the greater cost is worth it.  MIT economist Joseph Doyle led a research team which released a study that suggests just that.  The study tries to answer the comparison of outcomes and benefits of higher cost hospital vs. lower cost ones in the U.S.  There are, however, variable factors making a true conclusion challenging, such as the fact that more severely ill patients are admitted at higher cost hospitals than their counterparts.

ConferenceWhile the debate may continue for some time, for the fourth-eighth year, DIA will hold its four-day conference to try to solve problems.  The DIA brings together more than 7,500 professions to collaborate and discuss ways to improve health care.  These professionals are involved in “discovery, development and the life cycle management of pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices and related products.”

Held at the Philadelphia Convention Center June 24-28, the theme of the year is “Collaborate to innovate,” and boasts 270 sessions available to attendees.  Let us all hope these professionals collaborate to come up with solutions that will both improve medical outcomes while lessening the burden on our pocketbooks.


Solving the U.S. Health and Healthcare Issues – a Big Job!

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