Giorgio Delgado

Iatrogenesis

March 26, 2014

I can't say that my Health Economics online course has been a pleasant experience while working full time. It has, however, provided me with some interesting insights.

One of the assignments in the course required that we write an essay on anything that pertained to economics and Canadian health care. With this freedom, I decided to talk about iatrogenesis - the preventable harm resulting from medical treatment or advice to patients. Professionals who may sometimes cause harm to patients are: physicians; pharmacists; nurses; dentists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists. Iatrogenesis can also result from complementary and alternative medicine treatments.

Upon further research, I realized that the health care industry is one of the leading causes of death and injury within Canada and the United States. It makes sense though, as strong as a doctor's desire to help those with ailments, the market forces push the health care industry to strive for profits before anything else.

In a health system like that of Canada's, known as a fee-for-service structure, where doctors are paid on the quantity of their service (i.e. the more patient visits the greater the income) rather than their quality of service, doctors have the incentive to provide a level of health services beyond what is required to a person, which then causes injury.

What I found most striking during my research was this little quote, "About 90% of patients who visit doctors have conditions that will either improve on their own or are out of reach of modern medicine's ability to solve". With this in mind and the fact that prescription meds always have steep repercussions we can start seeing how more damage than good is done to us when we step into a hospital.