Author: José Guimón
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
"Adapt or perish, now as ever, is Nature's inexorable imperative. " -H. G. Wells, Mind at the End of Its Tether (1946) Doctors are trained to treat people suffering from various diseases. This is the main form of their activity and usually the reason for which they selected medicine as their profession. The notion that they should become managers and engage in activi ties such as programming, calculating cost, assessing cost-benefit ratios, and thinking about pricing in accordance with the social utility of their intervention, is both foreign and abhorrent to them. They are sometimes willing to say how much they need in order to have a well-functioning service: usually they prefer to state what specific apparatus and other things they require without specifying the price of their demand. They can be persuaded to add a price tag to what they think is necessary for their work: but that was about as far as they would go, until recently. The growing emphasis on human rights over the past few decades, the greater emphasis on quality of life and the public's heightened expectations about their health led, in many industrialized countries, to a greater demand for health services. This, com bined with improved possibilities of diagnosis and treatment (at higher cost!), led to a significant increase in financial demands which made governments and health-care systems uneasy and ready to accept any solution that would stop the spiral of seem ingly endless cost augmentation.