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Healthcare, Metrics, Public Policy, Random Rants

Healthcare is expensive because we incentivise disinformation

It’s no wonder that healthcare in the U.S. is terribly expensive. First we add the overhead of a private insurance industry that provides little or no value. (Studies on this are rampant so don’t bitch at me if you disagree!) Second, we pay doctors to treat not to keep people well. This means doctors must let you get sick before they can make a buck. All this is well understood. I think what is less well understood is the cloud of disinformation that is bandied about for pure sensationalism and ratings sake by the media.

Here is an example. Do you know NTT? No? Not terribly surprising and yet your life probably depends on it. It’s the concept of Number To Treat. How many people do you have to treat for a given diagnosis to make a measurable difference in health and how much of a difference do you make. For the most part, giant segments of U.S. healthcare provision have no NTT. This means that we spend tons of money on treatment regimens that have no clinically measurable effect. It’s one of the biggest drivers in healthcare cost in the U.S. today. People want the advertisement not the informed reality of treatment.

Still fuzzy? Here is a great TEDx talk that explains the subject quite clearly.


About barkie19

I'm a Healthcare Information Technology consultant who happens to specialize in the Public Behavioral Health world. Things have been at the status quo for a while and I believe its time to change the conversation. Talk to me, please.


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