Sometimes our technological advances can be our undoing as a society. For the last several decades, medicine has become increasingly for-profit, moving further away from the not-for-profit model of yesteryear. This has meant that hospitals and doctors run their operations on razor-thin margins, which has necessitated things like ordering-on-demand, essentially waiting until the last minute to order replacement medicine and supplies when they start to run low.
This has all been managed well by software and AI-powered databases that track inventory and send orders just in the nick of time. Unfortunately, thanks to the global pandemic this has proven to be a game of chicken that we have lost as PPE supplies run drastically low. Can we find a way back after the pandemic subsides?
In the United States, we spend more on healthcare than any other industrialized nation in the world. Roughly 18% of our GDP is spent on healthcare, whereas the global average is under 9%. Despite the fact that we spend more on healthcare than any other country, our outcomes are not usually the best in the world.
The costs of lifesaving medications are rising rapidly and are often out-of-reach for the people who need them most. Between 2009 the cost of an Epipen rose from $100 to $600, hugely significant when you consider that people who need them must have multiples for work, school, and home. Between 2012 and 2016 the cost of treating diabetes rose an average of $2841 each year, leading many to ration insulin and other drastic measures.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed many cracks in the system. Hospitals that rely on procedures that have been canceled for revenue can’t afford to purchase lifesaving equipment and PPE, and those that can afford it can’t get it because the pipeline from manufacturing in China is closed off. Will the United States find a way forward after the pandemic subsides? Learn more about the social impact of mixing business and medicine from the infographic below.
Source: Social Work Degree Center
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