The Elephant In The Living Room – Justin Bowra
Summary by: Rosy Wang
Justin Bowra takes a break from ultrasound to broach the uncool but crucial subject of health care economics.
Health care spending make up a large proportion of the budgets of OECD nations, and it is increasing in relation to GDP. This is an unsustainable situation and something has got to give.
In part 1 of Justin’s talk, he asks the question, where is the money going? The commonly asserted points of the aging population, better medical treatments, litigation and corporatisation of health care contribute. Justin argues, however, that the biggest problem is the system itself. To acknowledge the elephant in the living room is to acknowledge that we as doctors contribute to the problem, but we also have the greatest responsibility to be part of the solution.
In part 2, Justin briefly discusses ways in which the system can be fixed. He touches on taming special interests, shared decision making, surrendering autonomy and to look at the big picture – remembering that what we do for each individual patient has consequences for everyone else.