Skip to content
Font Size
A
A
A

Ailing U.S. Medical System Fails Patients, Experts Say

Healthcare Control Needed
By
WebMD Feature

March 1, 2001 (Washington) -- Two years ago, a blue-ribbon panel committee dropped a bombshell -- the news that up to 98,000 Americans die annually from medical errors. That finding, the reconvened panel says, was just the "tip of the iceberg in the larger story about quality care."

At a news conference here Thursday, the same panel called the diagnosis critical for quality healthcare in America.

Recommended Related to Health Ins & Medicare -- Step 4

Colleen’s Story: Retiree With Family

Story by Bara Vaida

Read the Colleen’s Story: Retiree With Family article > >

"We believe that since the current system can no longer delivery quality care, that the report constitutes, if you will, a blueprint ... to make sure that [better] care is developed across the country," says William Richardson, PhD, chair of the panel that produced both reports. This one is titled, "Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century." The report calls American healthcare "poorly designed."

Greater access to records, as well as information over the Internet, also were stressed in designing an" approach would emphasize patient control.

"I'd invite patients to read their records. ... I would invest in forms of shared decision making," says panelist Donald Berwick, MD, MPP, of Harvard Medical School in Boston.

The analysis, paid for in part by the federal government, was put together by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), which is part of the National Academy of Sciences.

Ironically, in spite of great scientific advances like mapping the human genome, the panelists found that the gap in effectively delivering treatments to patients has widened into a chasm.

For example, too many patients overuse antibiotics, increasing the problem of bacterial resistance, and too few patients get lifesaving drugs after a heart attack, even though such actions fly in the face of well-known practice guidelines.

"[M]illions of Americans fail to receive effective care. If the healthcare system cannot consistently deliver today's science ... it is even less prepared to respond to the extraordinary scientific advances that will surely emerge during the first half of the 21st century," according to the report.

Chief among the 19-member committee's concerns -- poorly coordinated treatment for people with chronic conditions like breast cancer, asthma, and diabetes.

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

disciplining a boy
Types, symptoms, causes.
psoriasis
Does your kid have symptoms?
fruit drinks
Eat these to think better.
No gym workout
Moves to help control blood sugar.
acupuncture needle on shoulder
10 tips to look and feel good.
Close up of eye
12 reasons you're distracted.
Epinephrine Injection using Auto-Injector Syringe
Life-threatening triggers.
woman biting a big ice cube
Habits that wreck your teeth.
embarrassed woman
Do you feel guilty after eating?
pacemaker next to xray
Treatment options.
caregiver with parent
10 tips for daily life.
birth control pills
Which kind is right for you?

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.