What is (and who is) this blog for?   Leave a comment

This blog is my attempt at highlighting new products, innovative services, and new ways of thinking about healthcare. In my day job as a healthcare provider (currently in training), my colleagues and I are continuously affronted with the best and the worst that American healthcare has to offer. However, the nature of working in academic healthcare is that you are historically rewarded for three things: clinical service (i.e., billing for patients), academic research (i.e., publishing), and education (i.e., teaching medical students and residents). This relatively narrow mandate given the complexities of healthcare often limits a providers incentives to reflect on the industry and the profession more broadly. Hence, one “deep problem” (I expect to write about many more) intrinsic to healthcare is that those most knowledgable about problems are not well-positioned to evaluate them and communicate recommendations to other stakeholders (e.g., policymakers, patients, corporate management, etc.).

Seeing the personal impact of this deep problem on my own career horizon has made me seek out ways of mitigating some of its effects on me. This blog is my effort to more fully engage with the issues of healthcare that I see everyday in clinical settings but whose issues have effects well beyond the walls of the medical center. My goal is to write at a level of analytical depth that college-educated folks can appreciate but avoiding as much technical jargon as possible. Where the science is necessary, I hope to do my best to provide rudimentary explanations that make the issue discussed accessible without oversimplifying. MDs, PhDs, and other terminal degrees in the health sciences, please excuse any unintentional insults these lay explanations may produce, and feel free to challenge me if you think my thesis does not hold up to a more nuanced appraisal of the science under the hood.

The topics I choose for individual blog posts will largely be drawn from my personal research interests which include global health, medical education, and surgical quality initiatives. It is very likely that posts will be prompted by encounters in my everyday professional life, so I ask for readers’ leniency when I digress from these issue areas. Also, I encourage readers to send me topics for future posts.

Politics? Sorry, not playing that game. I’m interested in solutions. We can all agree that people need healthcare and that the current system in the U.S. to provide it has problems. The root of these problems is that healthcare like any industry has scarce resources. I’m not interested in discussing here how those scarce resources should be divided up. Instead, I will focus on what apolitical products, services, and ideas we can use to more effectively use those limited healthcare resources.

Finally, I make no apologies for my writing style. It has been accused of mixing direct clauses with overly complex sentence structure. This is likely due to my longtime enjoyment of Hemingway mixed with an ISTJ personality type that feels the need to analytically cover every aspect of an issue in a single sentence. On top of that, I am prone to the occasional literary flourish that may not fit my otherwise intention to pitch this blog’s style as a casual conversation with my readers. This disclaimer about my writing aside, please engage with me on any matter of content that you find objectionable.

Who is this blog for? Ultimately, anyone willing to consider some of healthcare’s most intractable problems and the solutions proposed by experts and laypeople alike. I do hope as this blog grows that it will be a real conversation where readers regularly respond and future posts of mine incorporate ideas synthesized from these follow-on conversations. Most importantly, I hope you walk away from each read with a better understanding of the state of healthcare today and the potential for making it better in the future.

Logistics: My goal is to post monthly (plus special occasions, of course)…we’ll see how that goes.

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Posted December 28, 2011 by Ira Leeds in Introductory Material (For newcomers)

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