Dartmouth Raises the Bar for Health Care Delivery Science

The words “health care” can stir a buzz in any crowd these days. While many of us are quick to point out the parts of the current system in need of repair, the solutions for fixing those problems are not mentioned nearly as frequently. Recently Dartmouth, largely regarded as having one of the oldest and most prestigious medical schools, has set out to help mold future graduates that can help offer answers to some of the nations and the world’s most pressing health care delivery problems.

With the help of a $35 million gift, President Jim Yong Kim of Dartmouth has developed the Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science which he and other health leaders believe may be an amazing first step in helping to solve the health care delivery dilemma. This new announcement was the focus of the recent winter 2011 edition of the OCCOM, the chronicle of Dartmouth Philanthropy. President Kim and Dr. Jim Weinstein, President of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, highlighted the need for a more efficient system.“No matter how good our tools may be, in every health care system I have ever worked in, problems with delivery have always limited what we can do to help patients,” said President Kim during a seminar on the topic.

It seems that the focus has largely been on improving the tools and training of doctors for some time now with no real emphasis on how to effectively use these skills to benefit the public. In these series of seminars, Dr. Weinstein mentions that when patients are effectively counseled on all the facts regarding a specific procedure, 30% will change their minds about undergoing the invasive procedure and opt for something less invasive. This shocking change of heart shows that many patients are making costly health decisions with only a mere sliver of the information required to make the best decision for both their personal health and their finances. Dr. Weinstein believes that “if informed patients opted out of unnecessary procedures we (health care system) would save another $700 billion.”

The Dartmouth approach requires undergrads and graduate students alike to think critically about the growing problem not only on a national level, but on a global one as well. “We need Philosophers, for example, both students and faculty, to think about the ethics of our health care system,” explained President Kim.

When one of the leading medical schools begins thinking out of the box, it’s time for the nation to follow suit. Health care delivery is a complex issue with many variables. One of the most popular, and yet wildly debated, forms of health care delivery is the online method. While some see diagnosing patients through the Internet as a frightening new concept, others see it as a natural progression of both modern medicine and the high-tech Internet era. For those stuck in their homes with debilitating illness, the victims of natural disasters like the recent catastrophe in Japan, receiving medical help or council online may be the most effective way to deliver health care.

While there are countless companies taking advantage of this need without adhering to the “best practices” of the health care industry, this simply highlights the need for the bar to be raised and for companies to step up their practice.

With the addition of higher education practices like the Master’s Degree program in Health Care Delivery Science at Dartmouth and the continuation of new technology developments, it seems that online health care may on the brink of becoming even more valuable method of health care delivery.

Emily Murry is a blogger for KwikMed.com, an online pharmacy. KwikMed.com was also one of our presenters at the 2008 Health 2.0 Conference in San Francisco.

One Response to Dartmouth Raises the Bar for Health Care Delivery Science

  1. Vito says:

    Check out this cool device that Dartmouth engineering students were working on to improve health care delivery for patients with heart disease http://bit.ly/fZYHpC

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