New to the Book Club: Distracted: How Regulations are Destroying the Practice of Medicine and Preventing True Health-Care Reform

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I knew that doctors face increasing administrative burdens, but I had no idea how bad it was. Distracted is 201 pages of examples of bureaucratic burdens and Catch 22’s that make no sense placed on practices trying to provide the best healthcare they can. The author concedes that costs are out of control, the healthcare system isn’t working, errors happen, and that quality needs improvement. But his examples make very clear that new regulations, new technologies, quality measures, and payment hurdles forced on practices by well-meaning bureaucrats and insurers meant to fix real problems are only making things worse. His examples may seem hard to believe at points, but the problems are familiar – no one thought about how the “solutions” would have to work in his real world. He often has to note “I’m not making this up”. I don’t agree with everything in the book, especially his chapter on Patient-Centered Medical Homes, but his point is clear and painful to hear for anyone involved in healthcare policymaking. Anyone involved in healthcare at any level should read this book.

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