Decentralizing Healthcare – Lunch w/ TED

Lunch with TED — By on March 18, 2010 at 12:00 am

Eric Dishman, healthcare researcher for Intel, wants us to take medicine back to the future.  Dishman wants us to envision medicine as it was practiced before 1787, before it was centralized in hospitals that departmentalized the body and its problems, but he wants us to do so while employing cutting edge technologies enabling us to capture real-time data leading to diagnoses of everything from dimension to the onset of more serious diseases.

Dishman’s talk is remarkable because it exemplifies the kind of innovative thinking that people and companies in free markets are capable of; I’ll be you didn’t even know Intel, a computer chip company, had a full time paid position for someone like Dishman.

It is remarkable because Dishman, using the technology available to us, is opening up doors and challenging long held assumptions about medical care.  In the United Staes, we’ve been immersed in “healthcare” talk for over a year yet who has ever suggested that centralized medicine vis-a-vis hospitals might be responsible for some of our present difficulties?

Finally, it is remarkable because it might be the last of its kind.  TED talks do not move politicians to innovation;   government bureaucracy is a slow moving animal which does not adapt to change.  Ideas like these are tested, proved, and implemented by entrepreneurs in the free market.  Many ideas and entrepreneurial endeavors will fail, but some will succeed and their success will help millions.  If the President and Congress have their way, the free market will no longer have means and opportunity to affect change in healthcare; that power will belong to the government.  Imagine Dishman making his case before a government committee filled with politicians in kahootz with “Big Hospital” lobbyists.  Presently, bad medicine can fail.  Soon, it will receive permanent life support via American tax dollars.

Today I’m giving Evangelical Outpost readers a double-whammy on healthcare.  In my other essay, I argue how the current healthcare debate defies common sense.  Now, I want to present a positive vision for reform.  Imagine a world where ideas like Mr. Dishman’s were implemented; where doctors received all their patients medical data straight to their iPad before arriving at the patient’s home for a check-up; where patients paid only for what they needed, and preventative medicine meant scheduling a monthly appointment in ones own home.  Technology has forever altered the cost/profit structure of the music industry – millions of people download billions of songs and they pay much less than ever before.  Who’s to say that the same couldn’t happen with healthcare?

Reform is needed certainly!  But before we pull the lever to do the same as old Europe has done, let’s first see if we can’t imagine and implement a new world of medicine.  America is different, she is exceptional, full of enterprising people and big ideas that continue to inspire the world.  On this issue of great importance, let us not conform so quickly when the Dishman’s of the world have ideas that merit our attention and action; let us lead and be remarkable for our faith in ourselves and the values that have made us a nation charitable, strong, free, and prosperous. ‘


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