As I said recently, I’ve been writing less here for a number of reasons. One is that I’ve been asked to write on other sites. Another, a sobering factor, as that after years of study, I’ve concluded that the American healthcare system has tied itself in a fatal knot. The post shown here, on the Patient Power blog, is an example of both.
“Private suites. Caring staff. Room for family.” Woohoo!
On the way home last night I drove past this billboard, turned around, and went back to snap this photo. See, hospitals know that if we have a good maternity experience we’re more likely to come back when sick, so they offer this.
Fine with me, but when we DO come back, shouldn’t we get what they promoted?? Let’s ASK them to provide it, for ALL healthcare! Otherwise it’d be kind of a bait & switch, now wouldn’t it. :)
Empowered patients & families praise ’em when they do well, and when they don’t, we ask for what we need. Do it!
Edit: In a comment below, @MightyCasey points to another factor I should have noticed: while hospital marketing departments are promoting the service provided in their maternity suites, the grim reality remains that the US has the worst maternal mortality rates in the developed world. Here’s the chart from one of the NPR posts Casey links to, which uses data from a big (38 page) article in Lancet last year. Look at US healthcare’s performance in the past generation – this is the number of dead mothers per 100,000 live births; :
In short, while the marketing is ramping up, actual delivery of maternal care is getting much worse, especially compared to what other developed nations are doing.
China, for instance (not shown in this graph) has improved since 2000 from 85.2 maternal deaths to 17.7, while we’ve gone from 17.5 to 26.4. This matches my recent post on the e-patient blog about “amenable mortality,” which is whether a system actually delivers the care that it knows how to do.
After years of study of healthcare around the world, listening to an immense number of arguments about what’s important and what works and doesn’t, it’s all summed up in this one picture. The Y axis is life expectancy; the X axis is cost. This graph has been tweeted furiously and often lately by health journalist @DanMunro. (More on him below.)
You can easily see that US health costs per capita are way, way, way out of whack with the rest of the world. And, the life expectancy we get for it is years worse than the countries that cost 2-3x less.
Some will argue bitterly that the facts aren’t relevant, or a hundred other arguments. I’ve lost interest in those arguments, because they’re all about rationale, and no rationale is worth a damn if the outcomes they’re trying to explain don’t match the rationale.