Today, the IOM released another report on the state of medical care and medical errors.
"We strived to view the health system from the perspective of patients, especially those with chronic conditions, where a premium is placed on care that is coordinated over time, across settings, and across multiple payers. Such a coordinated focus requires government programs and health care providers to unify and standardize their quality-improvement efforts. Our report encourages the federal government to take full advantage of its influential position to set the quality standard for the entire health care sector"
It's compelling stuff, and deserves a careful read at the very least. Their take-home message is a valuable one: if we are going to have significant, coordinated progress in reducing medical errors, and improving efficiency, there needs to be clear, agressive federal leadership.
I think that this is another suggestion that the "free market" doesn't apply to healthcare. While it may very well work for widgets and alkaline batteries and perhaps even corn meal .. healthcare .. and the enormous economies that are woven together around healthcare ... is different. I agree that we need to develop strong leadership to coordinate such an effort .. but .. as my former boss used to say .. "it's like herding cats."