Health care is something that affects every person in this country, and the rising cost is making it nearly impossible for people to afford. In The McDonaldization of Society, George Ritzer shows how the health care industry is changing and how the phenomenon of McDonaldization is effecting how we receive health care. Healthcare has become more efficient, calculable, predictable, and controlling. In the following sections, I will explore further these aspects of McDonaldization and how they relate to the health care industry. Efficiency
In the chapter on efficiency, Ritzer talked about how the health industry has created “walk in/walk out” surgery and emergency centers to handle patients in a more efficient manner. I do believe that creating these emergent care centers are better for the patients for minor issues, such as a child with fever that turns out to be strep throat or a minor laceration. Both of the above kinds of illnesses can bring someone to the emergency room where they would have to potentially wait for hours to be seen because of other major problems that come in. These emergent care and surgery centers do provide an alternative as opposed to going to the emergency room or the doctors’ office. I do believe this is a trend that is going to continue and may advance into other things as well. One example of this is when they had drive up flu shots last year. It was very efficient, and they were able to get the maximum number of people flu shots in the quickest time. In an online article from Cardiology Today, Nov 2008, Dr. Dove provides the following on efficiency in health care. A joint statement from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology identified four important attributes for measuring and publicly reporting efficiency in health care. The four attributes mentioned in the statement: integration of the quality and cost, valid cost measurement and analysis, minimal incentive to provide poor quality of care, and proper attribution of the measure.
These attributes are relevant to a wide variety of settings, including hospitals, managed-care organizations and group practices, according to the writing group. “The best place to focus is where reducing costs may actually enhance patient outcomes,” Harlan M Krumholz, MD, professor of cardiology, epidemiology and public health at Yale University School of Medicine and director of the Yale-New Haven Hospital Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, said in the release. “Measures should help us identify where we are wasting resources and assist us in tracking our performance in the interest of achieving better value in health care. Cost alone is not a good barometer for determining quality of care and efficiency.” (Dove, 2008)
I think that the author has made a valid point about assembly line type health care and emergent care centers becoming the wave of the future as people find alternative way to defray health care costs and in finding ways to avoid the interminably long wait times in the doctors’ offices. I saw a news item the other day that there are more doctors being strictly hospital doctors as opposed to having practices. This way of handling the care in a hospital will leave more practitioners able to provide better care in their offices as they will not have to go to the hospital as much for rounds. It can also be construed as another dehumanizing aspect of health care. In a brief from ABIM and ABIM Foundation, a meeting was held for several diverse leaders to consider the issues of “efficiency” in health care. On this brief are several strategies to eliminate waste from health care and to discuss what was needed to increase affordability and access. In the article the participants all agreed “physicians have the opportunity and the responsibility to work toward improving efficiency; that effective solutions will not emerge unless physicians are involved; and...