Governments need better information to provide effective healthcare systems, expert says

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 04 May 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d2790
  1. Bob Roehr
  1. 1Washington

The US Agriculture Department knows more about how well crops and cows are doing in the US than the government knows about healthcare, which accounts for a sixth of the economy. The country cannot continue to function with that level of information and uninformed decision making, the surgeon and writer Atul Gawande told a recent meeting at the Washington think tank the Center for American Progress.

The 13 000 diagnoses, 6000 drugs, and 4000 procedures of contemporary medicine are simply beyond the capacity of an individual doctor, explained the man who has become one of the leading thinkers on healthcare in the US. It requires an organisation that collects and integrates the information required to deliver that care.

Dr Gawande said medicine …

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