Tower of Babel…

Tower of Healthcare Babel

One of the major anesthesia journals is still publishing articles on the financial benefits of using shorter acting drugs for anesthesia.  Anyone with two neurons and a synapse who practices anesthesia has known this for over a decade.  When will the so-called experts publish cutting edge information that isn’t obvious and which has dramatic effects on practice?  A major problem is narrowness of vision.  If all you know is anesthesia, then you can’t incorporate the wealth of information in other fields.  The abysmally simple suggestion of using short acting agents to decrease costs is akin to telling a carpenter to use a hammer and nails to build a house; tell him something he doesn’t know.

Imagine an academic carpenter trying to tell other builders how to construct a house with only a hammer for a tool.  He could publish thousands of multivariable analyses and analyses of regression on the materials that make up a hammer, do hundreds of  linear regressions on the velocity needed to pound nails, and do whatever categorical analyses on brand, logistic regressions on the hammer maker, cluster analysis on nails …  All of these analyses would be insignificant compared to making a saw available to the construction crews. Carpenters already know how to use a hammer and have adapted its use in an infinity of ways, but with the addition of a saw, they could radically increase their speed, change their system for house building, and profit immensely (think what a toolbox full of tools would make possible!).

Don’t go to a medical journal to learn finance.  Then again, don’t go to a financial journal to learn medicine.  The same logic applies.  Healthcare business magazine articles are usually written and edited by people who don’t have intimate, hands on experience in taking care of patients.  They aren’t aware of the variables involved, don’t know what they don’t know, and don’t have the experience or theory to find good solutions to particular problems.

Two worlds speaking different languages with different skill sets.  Both are very necessary to bring healthcare into the 21st century.  They have to communicate well.  We need translators.

No wonder healthcare is a dinosaur among industries. There are few real leaders, those with a foot in both worlds. No wonder there’s such a fight to retain the status quo.  They don’t know how to merge the two.  Until the leaders begin to communicate significant relevant information to both worlds in languages they understand, we’ll have a Tower of Babel—a chaotic attempt to build a healthcare system.

About Brian D Gregory MD, MBA

Board Certified Anesthesiologist for 30 years. TOC design and implement for 30 years. MBA from U of Georgia '90: Finance, Data Management, Risk Management. Practiced in multiple US states and Saudi Arabia at KFSH&RC and KFMC Taught residents in two locations. Worked with CRNAs for 20 years.
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