Why “House” is the True American Health Care Hero, And What To Do About It

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4 Responses

  1. Ken Rhodes says:

    Good grief! Trying to make an important point, you weaken your case with an absolutely awful strawman.

    Have you ever actually watched a complete episode of “House, M.D.?” In nobody’s wildest imagination is he or his medical function in the hospital remotely related to cohesive, forward-thinking planning, or coordinating patient care.

    From Fox TV’s description of their award-winning a popular show: “House is a brilliant diagnostician whose unconventional thinking and flawless instincts afford him a great deal of respect. An infectious disease specialist, he thrives on the challenge of solving medical puzzles in order to save lives. House shepherds an elite team of experts who help him unravel diagnostic mysteries…”

    A diagnostician whose role is to solve diagnostic mysteries.

    In the world of perfect medical practice, there will still be mysteries, and they will still need Sherlock Holmses to solve them. Why in the world would you toss in this silly distraction to clutter up an otherwise on-point criticism of the way our overall medical care is FUBAR?

  2. Vickie Williams says:

    I have indeed, watched many full episodes of “House.” And that is my point exactly, that what makes House so amusing to watch is the lack of cohesive, forward-thinking planning, yet his brilliance and acumen are revered by his fellow physicians (even though his personality is not), and ultimately, rewarded. In a cohesive, forward-thinking health care system, more patients would probably die because of people like House than would be saved, and he would not be allowed to behave like the Lone Ranger.

  3. Frank Pasquale says:

    I like the way you have explored some popular archetypes of health care quality. House is an outlier who deals with outlier cases, and too many people assume that this is the highest and best form of care.

    By contrast, I was at a conference at BU a few weeks ago where I saw presentation by a company that just aimed to make already cheap diagnostic tests cheap enough to be afforded in the developing world. They are succeeding on many fronts. That sort of dedicated, incremental improvement in access is going to do a lot more for people than the occasional flash of genius lionized on House.

  4. Vickie Williams says:

    Frank – It does seem that we equate the ability to handle outlier cases with good health care, even if it comes at the expense of basic health care for a greater amount of people. Sometimes I think that people are like parakeets when it comes to health care and technology, entranced with the new, shiny toy regardless of whether it adds anything to the repertoire in the birdcage. The type of work that the company that you saw at BU is doing is where we need to focus more of our health care resources.