Category: Health policy

Hospitals are full of people sick with CoVID but not all of them are patients. More and more staff in our hospitals are turning up for work that they are unable to do. They are present, but not working at their best, either due to their own health problems, increased CoVID-related workload, or CoVID anxiety. […]

CoVID is no longer just a health concern. As clinicians we now understand the disease a little better, are comforted that most cases are mild and self-limiting, and relieved that the intensive care resources are becoming equipped to manage the increase in patient numbers. Even the danger to health care workers of too much exposure […]

What will happen to our healthcare services once the acute phase of CoVID-19 has passed is anyone’s guess. The backlog of non-urgent surgery and medical treatment grows daily as physicians not involved in acute life-threatening care are furloughed and patients are reticent to see clinicians for fear of catching CoVID-19, if their offices are even […]

Even before the CoVID-19 pandemic, more and more people were working remotely. Between 2012 to 2016, the number of people working remotely rose by four percent globally. In the US, 43% of workers spend some of their time working remotely. In countries such as Finland, Japan, Netherlands and Sweden, more than half the population work […]

In times of overwhelming disaster and limited resources, ingenuity and repurposing can save lives.  For example, the use of stapling wounds on the suture-poor battle fields more than a century ago was game changer. It worked because the purpose of a suture and a staple were similar – to hold two opposing surfaces together. Wrap […]

CoVID-19 is all about lungs and breathing. As the infection increases in seriousness so the need for breathing assistance becomes greater. Critical and intensive care units (ICUs) provide the optimal support for these life-threatening breathing problems. But are they ready for the expected surge in cases? There will never be enough ICU beds. Overall, critical […]

Doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals have a long history of wearing face masks in clinical environments, but I’ve never seen a person in scrubs walking down the street in a face mask.  That look is generally reserved to  tourists, particularly from Japan and China, who wear masks as they see the sights. Surgical […]

My stethoscope is more than half my age and every year it gets proportionally closer to my age. It doesn’t have an expiration date and works just fine. In fact, not everything in medicine has a short expiration date or is consumable. Despite that, the traditional economy of healthcare is largely disposable. Healthcare materials are taken […]

In the Western world, the festive season is in full swing and our focus remains on food and drink – most of which is not produced locally. Despite our best intentions, our plates around this time of year are crammed with highly refined cheap foods distributed by a small number of producers. Ten food processors […]

Nonmedical drug use (NMPU) is one of the biggest health challenges facing the world today. The reasons for NMPU are highly variable, and to some extent differ according to the class of drug concerned, but the underlying cause is quite clear. The world is often not a happy place and consumers want easy access to […]

In an environment where at least one in every two female clinicians has experienced some kind of sexual harassment during her working life, developing educational programs to change the culture don’t and won’t work. There just isn’t enough money or time or will. Besides, too much time and money continue to be wasted in exposing […]

Whatever the political divides, citizens worldwide agree that responsible government should provide adequate healthcare for the whole population. Unfortunately, both patients and clinicians often get too subsumed in the weight of immediate crises to agitate beyond their own current concerns. Healthy children can help inject our anemic healthcare systems with new blood. We need to […]

Modern healthcare is undemocratic, antisocial and thus largely unresponsive to its patients’ needs. Never before has healthcare been so far removed from the people it services. It is time to bring democracy to health care. Our fragmented systems of silos of clinicians, administrators, funders, policy makers and governments make it almost impossible for voters to […]

As individuals we have little control over how we “insure” our future. As pension funds gain more and more control of our individual finances, it will become increasingly important to ensure that the investments they make relate to our needs and not just provide short-term financial returns on investment. Socially responsible investments help our ageing planet but […]

Today’s medical practitioners are expected to perform more than clinical roles.  They are expected to act as resource managers, clinical standards arbitrators, educators, researchers, and patient advocates. If all these weren’t enough, now tack on the additional role of green advocate. Little is known about the processing of less toxic waste once it leaves health […]

Does legislation really make a difference to the health of women? A quarter of a century ago, the USA legislated in the Women’s Health Equity Act to remove the inequalities between men and women in medical research. More recently, Health Canada recommended comparative studies in healthy male and/or female volunteers to minimize variability. Nonetheless, nothing has really […]

Two decades into our new century and the pieces of the medical puzzle still don’t fit together. Administrators, algorithm developers and funders each form a rigid static piece, promoting standardization of services, while physicians and patients desire developing more customized pieces. The prospect of any union is poor – unless the pieces can fit organically […]

Everyone knows that the economic value of medical research is difficult to measure but the returns for our communities are great. A global assessment of the return on investment in medical research would encourage even the most bearish of investors. In the UK, for example, a government spend of £1 can yield 25 pence of benefits […]

Health insurance is a misnomer. We can’t insure our health. It is not like motor vehicle insurance where the guarantee is that our damaged cars will be repaired. We need health pensions and trusts not health insurance. For humans, as opposed to cars, insurance provides no guarantees. We can’t buy insurance that will ensure that […]