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Martin Odber

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Can the shortage of doctors be solved using an adaptation of the third law of supply and demand?

The third law of supply and demand states "If demand remains unchanged and supply increases, a surplus occurs, leading to a lower equilibrium price."
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supply_and_demand )

If we increased the rate of new doctors entering medicine (using mechanisms such as but not limited to; subsidizing doctors education, further compartmentalizing aspects of health care etc ) until we reached a surplus state then would waiting times and the cost of healthcare go down accordingly?


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    Sep 6 2013: Mitch,

    Regarding the access to technology issue: I think the logical consequence of the developments I pointed out earlier is a lower threshold to access. At present, the third party payer/employer provided health plan which is administratively imposed has the effects you describe, but a radical reduction in cost for services will bring healthcare within reach for people without insurance. Consider the following possible impacts on the system of a handheld automated diagnosis device:

    1) Almost complete elimination of overhead; no need for routine triage, collecting the patient's data, nurses to take measurements or a doctor for diagnosis.

    2) Near-instant feedback. No need to wait in long lines, sign up for an appointment ahead of time, take time off work, or avoid treatment for any of those reasons.

    3) Reliability. As much as 40% of diagnoses are in error, and there are a great many complications that develop from delayed or improper treatment. Fixing those problems will lead to:

    4) A drop in demand for healthcare. Timely provision of quality care will reduce or eliminate: seeking care again for issues missed in diagnosis; seeking care for damage resulting from incorrect treatment; requiring more intensive care as a consequence of delaying or refusing to seek treatment.

    Adding to that is the increasing opportunity to apply preventive care that will abrogate any specific care requirement at all, for example through getting a detailed genetic work up to learn of disease susceptibilities.

    Information is the tool of choice in solving this problem, I suggest, rather than regulatory action or government financing.

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