Announcement: 2013 Essay Contest Launched!

The policymakers we have tasked with improving our healthcare system mean well but have limited optics. I don’t blame them. Capitol Hill is a long way from the hospital bedside. Patients and their caregivers are much better positioned to see routine opportunities for improving the value of our healthcare system. That is why we want to help the people who spend their time inside the walls of the American healthcare system amplify their voice.

Do you have a story about a time a medical bill was higher than you expected it to be? Or a time you wanted to find out what a test or treatment would cost and struggled to find the answer? How about a time that you figured out a way to actually deliver or receive better care at a lower cost? We want to hear from students, professors, patients, nurses, teenagers, octagenarians—anyone with a real story from the frontlines.

For the last three years, more than 300 Americans from all over the nation have submitted stories to our annual essay contest. To date, these stories have helped drive a productive public discussion about the role of clinicians in healthcare spending and the challenges providers face in making care affordable. The stories have been featured in almost every major media outlet, including National Public Radio, ABC Television, and the New York Times. They have also helped policymakers improve their optics. The Institute of Medicine used the essay contest submissions as case studies for an influential report. The Massachusetts State House used the stories for an oversight hearing on medical debt.

Today we’re building on this momentum with a new essay contest that will be chaired by four leaders with a track record for transformative change: Andy Grove (the former Intel CEO who is credited with driving the growth phase of the Silicon Valley), Maureen Bisognano (a nurse who became president of the world-famous Institute for Healthcare Improvement), David Goldhill (a television executive whose personal experience with the healthcare system led a solutions-focused bestseller praised by conservatives and progressives alike), and Steven Brill (a journalist whose recent expose on medical bills motivated Time magazine to dedicate their entire feature section to a single story by a single author for the first time in their 90 year history).

Help us build a telescope between well-meaning policymakers and well-meaning caregivers. Nothing is more powerful than a good story when it comes to motivating change. The best submissions are short, informal, and conversational. Entries are due by December 1st, 2013, and thanks to our partner sponsors (the Association of American Medical Colleges and Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare), we have $4000 to award to the cream of the crop.  We’re eager to hear from you:

2 Comments on “Announcement: 2013 Essay Contest Launched!

M.Ibrahim Khan,MD
September 9, 2013 at 4:30 pm

The problem is that the medical vocabulary of the health economists and their disciples is controlled by bean counting (the economic perspective or the economic standard), which has blinded them to the reality of scientific medicine (the medical standard) that the challenges we face in the quality of care mirror what we are dealing with in the cost. Fixing the quality side of this paradoxical equation offsets a fix on the cost side. In other words fixing the quality will keep the cost in check. Now, you can see that the health economists & their disciples who include everyone except me are on the wrong side of the health care equation or on the wrong track or we can say they are looking through the wrong end of the telescope. In other words, it’s a case of misplaced priorities. A telling sign of misplaced priorities is this fixation on cost, not the quality of care. So, the solution is to get the health economists & their disciples on the right side of the healthcare equation or on the right track i.e. everyone focused on high-priority quality of care & not the low-priority cost of care. And just as the quality of care goes through the roof, guess what? The cost is plunged to the floor which is exactly what I demonstrated decisively to Kentucky Orthopedic Society on Sept; 16, 2009, while delivering key-note address on work-related arm pain (WRAP) at their annual meeting in Louisville. They heard me loud & clear that instead of perfecting the art of managing the symptoms of chronic pain with opiates &/or Nsaids which does not eliminate the cause of pain & this is what ends up in patients becoming reliant on
( addicted to ) the pain medication & the consequences of that like the rising deaths tied to opiates in the US and the heart perils of Nsaids, we should rather focus on the science of curing the chronic pain by determining the cause of the chronic pain & treating that cause directly. The result will be the elimination of both the chronic pain & the need to continually take the potentially addicting & harm full drugs. This quality-centric approach to healthcare will lower the cost of WRAP from $500 billion to $75 billion a year in the US. Out of the total cost of $ 500 billion, direct medical cost accounts for $ 150 & indirect medical cost for $ 350.This quality approach to WRAP cuts direct cost by at least 50%
as follows:
• cuts diagnostics cost by 50% by using ultrasound instead of nerve conduction velocities;
• cuts surgery cost for dynamic carpal tunnel syndrome ( DCTS )by two-thirds;
• cuts repeat surgery including the e• cuts postoperative care cost including occupational therapy ( O.T ) by two-thirds;
• Cuts unnecessary shoulder surgeries cost by 100% by preventing the problem of persistent shoulder pain (P.S.P).
Cuts the indirect cost by 100%, since it gets rid of the chronic neuropathic pain by getting rid of the pain generator in the carpal tunnel.
This quality-centric approach to healthcare will save $ 1.3 trillion in health care costs in the first year, which President Obama is hoping to achieve in 20 years with his plan & now you can see the consequences of keeping the quality of care out of the equation. All these savings will be in the direct medical cost which is $ 2.6 trillion. The indirect cost savings will be additional & also very substantial. In fact, my quality-centric approach to healthcare reform is the cure for the bipartisan causes of the US budget deficit such as social security issues, Medicare, Medicaid, pentagon & even the interest.

September 30, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Is this contest only open to those in the USA? I am a South African medical student and would love to enter…


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