Doc Talk #189 – Dollars and Cents: The Business of Healthcare

In this show we talked about the business of healthcare. It is a multi-billion dollar industry and has a huge economic impact around the world.

We talked about the economics of healthcare and although it has some differences with business at large, they are somewhat nuanced. We discussed asymmetry of knowledge, government intervention, uncertainty, externalities and opportunity cost.

Why are spending more money on healthcare, seemingly for marginally diminishing benefits? Supply-induced demand, the need to protect intellectual property to make investment worthwhile, cognitive bias, marketing and advertising, and an unwavering overconfidence in the impact of our treatments are among the reasons we discussed.

Our overall message? Decisions about healthcare spending are always may more complicated that they first appear.

We finished the show, by providing listeners with some tips as an individual healthcare consumer.

We mentioned the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in the UK which is a bastion of evidence-based decision-making. We also really like the Choosing Wisely website which has some excellent patient resources, including the “5 QUESTIONS to Ask Your Healthcare Provider Before You Get Any Test, Treatment or Procedure”.

Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

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