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The False God of Easy Answers and Catchy Nostrums

Posted Jul 24 2012 9:13pm
Have you been stymied by health care's complexity? Are you unable to find that one intervention that predictably leads to a desired outcome? Are your best laid plans being upended by countervailing poverty and undereducation? Do you want to make a big splash that portrays your health care chops?

The Disease Management Care Blog says "No problem!" because the fix is simple:

Find a catchy health care motto.

Among the more famous are Richard Nixon's " War on Cancer " and the geneticists' " Personalized Medicine ." The latest candidate is the term "AIDS Free Generation" embraced by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's at the International AIDS 2012 Conference . Ms. Clinton really stepped up with a compelling vision thing, got some major jumbotron time and launched a new nostrum into the global miasma of big government solutioning. It's enough to give the DMCB goosebumps. If this keeps up, humanity can look forward to a future where we all die of nothing.

Don't get the DMCB wrong. $150 million will save many lives, but the idea that HIV transmission will be completely halted in 2015 seems fantastical, naive and a little dishonest. Contrast that with George Bennett's reframing the "War On Drugs"  with a more honest stretch goal of a "50%" reduction in U.S. drug abuse.  It didn't end well, but give the guy credit for telling it like it is.

The DMCB's conclusions
1. Beware politicians with little reality-tested experience taking advantage of our desire for easy answers wrapped in short catchphrases. While our aspirations should exceed our reach, the DMCB cautions that we need to be on the lookout for health policy hope being undercut by hype.

2. Ms. Clinton's political skills are considerable.  The DMCB finds it unlikely this political impresario will simply fade away.

3. This false god of health care perfection summed up with easy answers may be one of the reasons why all those local QI programs aim for "100% HEDIS compliance" and "zero" hospital readmissions. Who can blame them when our political class is leading the way?

The DMCB felt so strongly about this, it proposes it's own motto: "Be motto free with the DMCB."
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