A good overview article in Business Week (This Man Wants to Heal Health Care) describes David Brailer’s efforts to use information technology to re-engineer the health care system. Efficiency will increase, costs will drop, and service levels will improve –or so we’d like to believe. The problem is that the expenditures are front loaded and the ultimate benefits quite uncertain and difficult to measure.
Reading the article I was reminded of the proposed reform of Social Security. Somehow –it was never clear exactly how– private accounts were going to close Social Security’s long-term deficit. In the short term, though, it just meant borrowing massively to cover the cost of transitioning to the new program.
Health care does have massive problems –worse than Social Security– and information technology can help solve them. But the national program is no panacea and could easily turn into a nightmare.October 21, 2005