Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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The Complexity of Healthcare

I’m currently reading Complications by Atul Gawande (the guy who wrote the New Yorker article about the cost of healthcare).

Anyway, I just started but I had to share this quote about doctor’s and healthcare and the complexity of it all:

We look for medicine to be an orderly field of knowledge and procedure. But it is not. It is an imperfect science, an enterprise of constantly changing knowledge, uncertain information, fallible individuals, and at the same time lives on the line. There is science in what we do, yes, but also habit, intuition, and sometimes plain old guessing. The gap between what we know and what we aim for persists. And this gap complicates everything we do.

One consistent theme in the stuff I’ve read so far on healthcare (and more specifically doctors) is the need to accept not always knowing the correct answer while still taking the possible consequences very seriously. I guess in a profession where consequences are literally life and death you have no other option. (Though, as I understand it, many doctors do believe their own hype and forget sometimes that they make things up.)

August 4, 2009