Health Care Should Be More Like Baseball

We need better statistics to make sound judgments
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2008 2:05 PM CDT
Baseball shouldn't be a smarter business than Healthcare.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – If the US health care industry were a baseball team, it’d be “a hidebound, tradition-based ball club that chases after aging sluggers,” write Billy Beane, John Kerry, and Newt Gingrich in the New York Times. The US spends egregiously on health care but gets little in return, like the high-payroll Yankees, Tigers, and Mets. Health care needs its own version of sabermetrics—stat-based analysis that can cut costs and improve performance.

Studies show that doctors operate mostly on informed opinion, personal observation, and tradition. “A doctor today can get more data on the starting third baseman on his fantasy baseball team than on the effectiveness of life-and-death medical procedures,” they write, and that needs to change. The government and private sector should create an institute for evidence-based medicine, and reward the wise medical teams who follow its suggestions.