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A Prescription for an Ailing Health Care System

DALLAS, April 17, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Health care in the United States is "falling short on basic dimensions of quality, outcomes, cost, and equity," report Robert Saunders of the Institute of Medicine and Mark D. Smith of the California HealthCare Foundation in "The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care" in the Spring 2013 edition of Issues in Science and Technology. Although the United States is the world leader in biomedical research and the model of efficiency and productivity in many industries, its health care system fails to produce the results found in Europe and Japan in spite of spending much more.

The U.S. health care system is too slow in incorporating new discoveries and sharing data, according to the authors, and a key reason is the lack of effective incentives to encourage providers to make constant improvements. The authors show how changes to the payment system and organizational structure could enable physicians, nurses, and other health care workers to deliver better services and become active participants in a continuously learning health care system. The models for reform can be found in many other sectors of the U.S. economy and in a few pioneering health care providers.

Women are slowly increasing their presence in science and engineering professions, but they are encountering cultural norms that are out of step with aspirations of today's men and women for a balanced life. In "Science, Gender, and the Balanced Life" Emilie Marcus , editor-in-chief of the journal Cell, discusses her reasons for abandoning the laboratory for the world of scientific publishing and raises questions about the wisdom of the highly individualistic and competitive world of research. She asks if "science might be served better by a system that favors diversity, teamwork, balance, broad intellectualism, civic responsibility, and healthy work/life balance."

The Spring edition of Issues also includes two articles on how to govern research in the highly contentious field of "geoengineering" as a means to combat climate change, two articles on the need for a comprehensive strategy to boost achievement of disadvantaged students, an article on using economic incentives to preserve whales, and an article on a plan to dramatically improve the performance of fuel cells.

Issues in Science and Technology is the award-winning journal of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and the University of Texas at Dallas.

Contact: Kevin Finneran 202-641-1415

SOURCE Issues in Science and Technology
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