Sunday, September 16, 2007

OVERDO$ED AMERICA by John Abramson, M.D.

I finished Doctor Abramson's book this past week. It is quite possibly one of the most important books this decade, yet too few individuals have been exposed to this book or the message that it conveys. My intention is to inspire all my friends, family, and patients to discover this book for themselves so that they too may then share the information with those important people in their lives. The American health paradigm has to change. It is broken, and it is our responsibility to fix it. Overdosed America may be just the tool we need to create a wave of knowledge and then reform the system that directly affects us all.

Doctor Abramson writes:

The American health care system keeps edging ever closer to the breaking point. Many factors are contributing, but in the eye of the storm is a single factor: The transformation of medical knowledge from a public good, measured by its potential to improve our health, into a commodity, measured by its commercial value. This transformation is the result of the commercial takeover of the process by which "scientific evidence" is produced. (p. 91)

The health care system is better described as a "health care industry". The industry as a whole is driven by its component parts. The primary parts of the health care industry are the pharmaceutical, insurance, medical supply and equipment, and hospital provider groups. These component parts are measured individually by the ability to generate revenue and profits. And when it comes to making money, these components are often an obnoxious success. But as a consumer, spending money on these products and services, success should be measured only by the quality of the product, not the cost or revenue it generates. If this is the case, then its the quality of health of the consumers that should indicate the overall measure of the industry. As a whole, we don't make the grade. Our health care system is absurdly over priced and the product does not stand up with the other industrialized nations. Something has to change. And I believe it is up to the consumer spark the shift.

I will write more about this book and topic during the next weeks.