The Top Ten Myths of American Health Care

Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute has a new book out on the myths of America’s health care system.  The book (191 pages) can be downloaded as a PDF file for free here.  A few excerpts from Myth Nine: Health Information Technology Is a Silver Bullet for Reducing Costs:

The upfront cost of implementing a good HIT system is absolutely enormous-especially for hospitals.

The Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., has been using an HIT system called Azyxxi for over 10 years. The sticker price for this system: $150 million.

Could $150 million be better spent on improving patient care more directly by upgrading outdated medical equipment, hiring more doctors and general practitioners, alleviating emergency room waiting lines, or opening up more beds in crowded wards?

Doctors and hospital administrators are far better equipped to know the answer to that question than bureaucrats in Washington.

Moreover, when politicians distort the economic realities underlying those decisions-by creating regulations that encourage HIT investments over other expenditures-a hospital might end up buying a computer when what it really needs is a dialysis machine.

Making the transition from paper to computerized records isn’t cheap for individual doctors, either. It costs anywhere from $40,000 to $60,000 for an individual doctor or small practice to make the switch. Plus, many older doctors are not computer savvy like young graduates who grew up with computers.

As a result, many doctors-like hospitals-are biding their time.

Excellent points.  I’ve noticed that quite a few people, on both the political right and left, who have never been in the health care profession at all, let alone functioned in direct patient care, “are always ready to give…[us]…the full benefits of their inexperience,” as Oscar Wilde once said about America’s youth.

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