When Is Good Enough Good Enough?

We all want to give doctors and patients what they need to do a better job. But, at some point, the cost of marginal improvements beyond a certain inflection point will not justify the results.

Those who practice Sick Care will never be 100% right. Since medicine is an art, based on some science, practitioners will always make diagnostic and treatment errors, patients will always vary in their response to treatment, procedures will always have a certain rate of sequellae, complications, and mortality and a certain percentage of doctors will not abide by treatment guidelines. Patients will continue to ignore instructions and not comply with recommendations.

Some think that the future is about reducing variations in care to the point of commoditizing it using personalized medical technologies and big data that will significantly improve the positive and negative predictive value of drugs and tests and improve outcomes. They predict deep intelligence will replace knowledge workers.

At the same time, patient-consumers seem more interested in convenience and experience and seem willing to settle for "good-enough care." They can't judge medical quality so they use other value factors as surrogate markers.

We all want to give doctors and patients what they need to do a better job. But, at some point, the cost of marginal improvements beyond a certain inflection point will not justify the results. At some point, we all might have to settle for "good enough" to get access and lower costs.

There is a difference between the quality of medical outcomes/price and the quality of service, convenience and experience/unit price. At some point, providers will have to admit that enough is enough of the former and spend more time and less money getting a bigger bang for the buck on the latter.