« Informed Consent and Standards of Care | Main | Tyler Cowen on Health Care Egalitarianism »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Daniel S. Goldberg

I LOVE the Benach et al. paper you cite here. I've already referenced it in several articles, and also included it in a course syllabus.


Yeah, the paper is short and really useful. I'm mostly upset you didn't alert me to it earlier! :)

Daniel S. Goldberg

Funny, I hoped that I had.

No joke -- I have a very small bulletin board right next to my screen that has room for only a few clippings, and p. 4 of this article is on it.





Rose: "Which strategy should you choose if your goal is to maximize the number of coinflips that come up heads?"
Innovator: "Well, what time frame are we considering? Are we trying to maximize the results of the upcoming round, or maximize results of all rounds?"
Rose: "I don't understand."
Innovator: "Because if we spend all of our resources getting our entire population these '55% effective coins' now, we won't be building the processes and networks to eventually distribute the superior '95% coins' to everyone."

The intended take-away is that a desired "end-state" in quality should always be ambitious - to drive improvement over time. Sometimes there are non-optimal outcomes for the whole population at THIS time, but spending resources on trying to extend the tail ever outward will help the population level more in the end.

With technology this is pretty unequivocal - the components in cell phones get better & smaller every year and applications and operating systems build on each other.

It gets tricky because health is not as limitless as technology or concatenations. The long tail can creep forward, but the truth remains: humans are mortal, we are up against an invisible wall that diminishes medical returns. No matter how many resources we pour into the long tail of age, the result will be the same. So please don't settle for 51%. Strive to perfection. And accept that perfection has limits.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Become a Fan