Grande Place, Grote Markt, Brussels, Belgium
Brussels is now a destination for medical tourism. Unfamiliar with the term? According to the CDC , "medical tourism" refers to foreign travel for the purpose of receiving medical care. It's estimated that up to 750,000 US residents travel abroad for medical care each year....The most common procedures that people undergo on medical tourism trips include cosmetic surgery, dentistry, and heart surgery.”
From 1986 to the present, the CDC has monitored pregnancy-related deaths. Surveillance data show a steadily increasing number of reported pregnancy related deaths up to 2012. The increase on its own may not turn heads, but in a global context, it depicts a slowly growing problem when compared to figures across other developed countries. And even more worrisome, experts have been unable to clearly identify the overall cause for the increase.
With rising costs, an inundated healthcare system, and limited resources, physicians have been known to ration medical services. According to a recent study, over half of the physicians surveyed reported withholding beneficial clinical services to patients over the past six months, with prescription drugs and MRIs at the top of the restricted list.
Telemedicine, or medical consultations via the internet, is aiming to change the landscape of healthcare delivery. While it has come through on many of its promises, it still may be too early to tell if any of these changes will be effective in the future.
Why do healthcare expenditures in the U.S. tower over those of other wealthy countries? And why are the health benefits we receive not commensurate with all those billions spent? Dr. Atul Gawande has some thoughts on this in The New Yorker.
Several societies concerned with countering the spread of infectious diseases issued a call for mandatory immunization of all healthcare workers. They outlined their reasons, but those are quite obvious and this mandate is long overdue, as we here at ACSH have been saying for years.