A study of drug prices in the U.S. and Europe published last spring avoids the apples to oranges problem, and provides compelling evidence that we have a real price problem here in the U.S
This month's Visualizing Health Policy takes a look at health care costs in the United States, including how US health care spending has surged over the past 50 years and how it continues to grow faster than the economy; how health care spending is unevenly distributed within the US population, with only half the population accounting for more than 97% of health care costs; how health care costs are putting pressure on US families, some of whom have to delay health care because of cost; how the United States spends more per person for health care than other countries; and how the cost of health insurance premiums has increased in the past decade for both workers and employers.
The financial impact of medical progress and improved public health is stunning: It accounts for an estimated 50 percent of all recent economic growth. So it is unfortunate that deliberations on “health reform" focus almost entirely on the political questions surrounding health insurance. Nothing will do more to improve America's health and reduce the costs of treatment than a carefully considered expansion of medical research and alteration of the destructive lifestyles that contribute to so much disease. According to the Milken Institute report, “An Unhealthy America," preventable disease already costs the nation $1 trillion, a cost that will increase rapidly unless we take decisive action. Reversing that trend and investing in medical research will provide the best long-term economic stimulus and save untold numbers of lives.
The long view of mankind's civilized life on this planet is marked by many technological discoveries – the wheel, printing, etc. – that revolutionized human productivity. Perhaps the greatest economic boost has occurred in the past century through the cumulative effect of medical progress and improved public health.
Rising healthcare costs are forcing people to pay more attention to preventing diseases, hence a shift in the concept of healthcare from curative-oriented to prevention-oriented. Following sincerely the age-old measures of ‘prevention is better than cure’, one can reduce the chances of contracting a disease. The need of the hour is to make disease prevention a habit, and practise it in all spheres of life.
Chronic diseases and conditions - such as heart disease, arthritis, asthma, depression, and diabetes – are the leading causes of death, disability, and rising healthcare costs in America. As of 2009, 145 million Americans – almost half of the population – were living with at least one chronic condition.
We're entering a new era in medicine where the patients are going to be taking an incredible amount of responsibility for their own diseases." Dr. Vaughan of New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell Medical Center explains how now, more than ever, with the advent of new technology facilitating communication and learning, he believes patients will be able to start diagnosing urologic diseases themselves. Dr. Vaughan notes how the patient knows his own symptoms best, and if properly informed, can best understand and identify his urologic condition.
FDA Approval for Auvi-Q™, Epinephrine Auto-injector for Patients with Life-threatening Allergies
Innovative medical device, piOna, is a drug delivery device development that provides women undergoing fertility treatment with a state-of-the-art auto injector solution.
"To be blunt, if my wife and I didn't think it was helping him, we wouldn't have continued with it," says Dan Polley. He's talking about Mikey, the Polleys' 2½-year-old in the next room, who was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia when he was 6 months old. Chemotherapy, radiation, and a bone marrow transplant have been crucial elements of Mikey's treatment. But the "it" his father speaks of is nothing like these aggressive, costly, and heavily researched exemplars of western care—it is a kind of touch therapy, from the camp of alternative medicine.
As hospitals elbow one another to attract patients, increasingly they're hoping to tap into Americans' interest in — and willingness to spend money on — complementary and alternative therapies such as acupuncture and massage.
The numbers of and roles assumed by NPs and PAs have been growing steadily, and allowing these providers to take on an even greater role could address the increased demand for primary care.
THREE DOZEN doctors-in-training recently sat in a conference room in Tucson. Arizona sunshine streamed through open French windows. On the floor were votive candles and peacock feathers, symbols of healing. It was the closing ceremony in a month-long course at the Centre for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, promoting the notion that doctors should use alternative treatments alongside conventional ones. Speaking to the students was Andrew Weil, a doctor and campaigner who heads the centre.
Eric Dishman is used to thinking about how technology can transform the world of health care. As an Intel Fellow and general manager of the company’s Health Strategy & Solutions Group, his job is all about finding innovative new approaches to healthcare. Eric Dishman: Take health care off the mainframe And he’s no stranger to talking about them. At TEDMED 2009, in the talk featured to the left, Dishman asked us to “Take health care off the mainframe,” boldly comparing the current American health care system to mainframe computers circa 1959.
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Dave deBronkart visited his doctor’s office in 2006 with nagging shoulder pain. A subsequent X-ray showed that his shoulder would heal, but incidentally also revealed a shadow on his lung, turning what deBronkart expected to be a routine visit into diagnosis of a rare form of kidney cancer.
When Dave deBronkart learned he had a rare and terminal cancer, he turned to a group of fellow patients online -- and found a medical treatment that even his own doctors didn't know. It saved his life. Now he calls on all patients to talk with one another, know their own health data, and make health care better one e-Patient at a time.
'Putting pandemics in perspective', by Mark Honigsbaum, an article from History & Policy, the independent initiative working for better public policy through an understanding of history
Why do rich nations elect to fund global health campaigns to tackle problems with no supra-national element at all, such as obesity or smoking?
Some Viral Hemorrhagic Fever causing agents like Lassa fever, Rift Valley fever, Marburg virus, Ebola virus and Bolivian hemorrhagic fever are highly contagious and deadly diseases, with the theoretical potential to become pandemics. Their ability to spread efficiently enough to cause a pandemic is limited, however, as transmission of these viruses requires close contact with the infected vector, and the vector only has a short time before death or serious illness. Furthermore, the short time between a vector becoming infectious and the onset of symptoms allows medical professionals to quickly quarantine vectors, and prevent them from carrying the pathogen elsewhere. Genetic mutations could occur, which could elevate their potential for causing widespread harm; thus close observation by contagious disease specialists is merited.
An epidemic, whether naturally occurring or deliberately orchestrated, that introduces a viral substance as deadly as AIDS and as quickly propagating as SARS, is a major threat to human security.
Accepting the 2006 TED Prize, Dr. Larry Brilliant talks about how smallpox was eradicated from the planet, and calls for a new global system that can identify and contain pandemics before they spread.
SARS, avian flu, swine flu ... each virus outbreak raises the question: What can be done? A compelling answer from virus hunter Nathan Wolfe, who's outwitting the next pandemic by staying two steps ahead: discovering new, deadly viruses where they first emerge -- passing from animals to humans among poor subsistence hunters in Africa -- and stopping them before they claim millions of lives.
David Quammen talks about scary new emerging diseases—such as Ebola, SARS, bird flu, AIDS—and where they emerge from: wildlife. Most are caused by viruses. The phenomenon, when such a virus passes from wild animals into people, is called spillover. Two factors account for the increasing risk of spillovers that may lead to pandemics: disruption (of diverse ecosystems) and connectivity (of the global human population). This is our future.