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It’s the quality, stupid.

At the risk of sounding partisan—and I do my best to be unbiased in my actual journalism—I have to call out Sen. John McCain for an ad that he’s been running about healthcare. “The problem with healthcare in America is not the quality of healthcare, it’s the availability and the affordability.”

Say what?

Someone had better brief him on the two Institute of Medicine reports, “To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System” (1999) and “Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century” (2001), not to mention the countless other academic studies that have followed in recent years questioning the adherence of physicians and hospitals to established quality metrics.

Watch for yourself.

This sounds like McCain is trying to play the patriotism card by insinuating that we have the best health system in the world simply because we’re the United States of America. Yes, cost and access are huge issues, but so is quality. Ask anyone who has ever been prescribed the wrong medication or acquired a MRSA infection in a hospital.

For his part, Sen. Barack Obama has not really run any commercials related to healthcare, but he does focus on cost in his discussion of quality on his campaign Web site.

Clearly, this issue is more esoteric and less sexy than, say, Hurricane Ike or the Wall Street crisis, but someone needs to explain to both candidates that quality really is a problem in American healthcare. Perhaps these two senators are part of the reason why Congress has done virtually nothing on health IT?

September 18, 2008 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Thanks for the honor

I am humbled to say that this blog has made the list of “Top 50 Health 2.0 Blogs” at the RN Central site. The blogs are categorized, but not really ranked, so I guess I don’t know where I fall in the hierarchy, but that’s OK. Health 2.0 is but one aspect of health IT, but a fast-growing one.

Or is it? A debate has started on some other healthcare blogs (including The Health Care Blog) about the future of health 2.0. Dmitriy Kruglyak wrote on his Trusted.MD site this week that news of the impending sale of Revolution Health highlights the fundamental flaws of health 2.0 as is exists today.

Matthew Holt, writing at THCB, begs to differ—while also promoting his Health 2.0 Conference. Holt and Kruglyak go back and forth in the comments section, and I imagine this is not the last we will hear on this subject. I’ll be in San Francisco next month for the next installment of the conference, and am looking forward to some animated discussion.

And now back to my discussion of blogs that reach beyond a single category. Nick’s Blog, the first public blog by a U.S. hospital president, has migrated to AskAHospitalPresident.com. F. Nicholas Jacobs is stepping down at the end of the year as CEO of Windber Medical Center in Windber, Pa., and, presumably, will turn over the Windberblog site to his successor. I call your attention once again to a podcast he did with me a year ago.

I’ve added Nick’s Blog to my blogroll, along with the Wall Street Journal Health Blog.

I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.