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Article Title

Overview

Authors

Charles J. Yeo, MD, FACS

Samuel D. Gross Professor and

Chair, Department of Surgery

In this issue, Surgical Solutions focuses on our trauma expertise, recent progress in bench research, the contributions of Dr. Gerald Isenberg, insights from medical student Zhi Ven Fong, and pays tribute to Dr. John Moore. A very busy issue!

I was moved by a recent editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine dated February 16, 2012. In the piece entitled “What We Talk About When We Talk About Health Care Costs”, Peter Neumann of Tufts University quotes from the American College of Physicians Ethics Manual, 6th edition:

“Physicians have a responsibility to practice effective and efficient health care and to use health care resources responsibly. Parsimonious care that utilizes the most efficient means to effectively diagnose a condition and treat a patient respects the need to use resources wisely and to help insure that resources are equitably available.”

Webster’s dictionary defines parsimony as “carefulness in the expenditure of money or resources”. Synonyms are frugal, stingy or penurious.

Neumann’s editorial is an important read for all in health care delivery. The debate about health care costs will continue. We recognize that non-adherence to clinical pathways, variations in how we treat patients, re-admissions, and preventable errors all drive up health care costs.

In the big picture though, Neumann nails the issue… “The problem is that no one in charge seems willing to acknowledge that getting a handle on cost growth will also involve uncomfortable trade-offs. We cannot as a society provide patients with unlimited access and unlimited choice. Providing better-quality care, though it is vital, won’t change that reality.”

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