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Deficits of Common Health Care Systems

Conflict of interest

Profit-oriented markets are often unsuitable environments for creating simple and cost efficient medical solutions. From a shareholders point of view it is more attractive to make a patient become a long-term consumer of medical services/products instead of a one-time customer – after all, life-long treatment of symptoms generates constant revenue. Financial interests have considerable influence on the quality and outcome of medical research.1

Lack of information

For-Profit health service/product providers also tend to have lower interest in the transparency of health care markets 2 because well informed patients are likely to adapt a more defensive consumption strategy.

Unfortunately, most of the existing medical knowledge bases are commercial and protected by pay-walls. Too little effort is made to integrate the various sources of information, leading to the typical problems of information silos. Publicly available medical information in the internet is mostly unstructured, opinionated, difficult to verify and rarely references empirical data.

Lack of trust

The lack of high quality medical information is intensified by the strict data protection policies that make it difficult for doctors, hospitals and other institutions to share patient’s medical data. These policies are a consequence of the growing distrust towards industries and state institutions to use data for the benefit of people instead of money making or surveillance.

Lack of time

Many doctors lament that they do not have sufficient time to spend on a single patient and recognize the implications of this constant time pressure:

There is not enough room for discussions, explanations or cooperative decision making. Patients regularly don’t feel taken seriously, leave without being well informed, are uncertain about what decision to take or whether to follow their doctor’s medical advice. Even worse, humans err when under pressure and given medical advice might actually be wrong, misleading or excluding viable alternatives.

1: Pharma industries, for example, have been publicly criticized for spending more money on marketing than on R&D

2:Pharmaceutical industry sponsorship and […]

Conclusion: Systematic bias favours products which are made by the company funding the research […].

3:The scandal of poor medical research

4:Reporting bias of medical research

5:Number needed to treat

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 20:30

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