Maybe it’s because I’m not a physician, a nurse or any other type of health care provider. Maybe it’s because I’m merely a dull-witted heart attack survivor. Maybe it’s because I spent virtually all of my 30+ year professional career in the field of public relations. But the reality is that I seem to think about health care more like a marketer than the average person might, and as such, I’ve been puzzled for some time about recent quality of care debates on whether patients should be considered “consumers” or not.
In one debate camp, you have doctors like Dr. Atul Gawande, whose Big Med article in The New Yorker caused apoplectic sputtering among some of his colleagues when it was published last August. That’s because Dr. Gawande touted a national restaurant chain as a potential model of the kind of standardization and quality that have been so lacking in health care. Continue reading