Monday, August 15, 2011

Learning From McDonald's

In the 8/12/2011 Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail, Andrew Steele wrote an interesting piece entitled, "What the health care system can learn from McDonald's".

Steele makes the point that innovations from the free market (such as the fast food industry) can also be applied to save money and improve quality in health care.

He notes that:
...[T]he Aravind Eye Care System has become the largest provider of eye care in the world. They perform hundreds of thousands of cataract surgeries a year, restoring sight to millions of people.

For the poorest of the poor, their services are the difference between starvation and a job, misery and dignity, death and life.

The inspiration of their model is not the Harvard Medical School or Johns Hopkins. It's McDonald's.
Steele's article also links to this TED talk about the Aravind Eye Care System:

Unfortunately, the article doesn't go far in enough in advocating privatization of Canada's current government-run system. In particular, if a government-run system attempted to create a network of such clinics, they would likely become ossified bureaucratic dinosaurs in short order -- precisely because the clinics would no longer have the freedom to innovate and respond to market forces in the same fashion as if they were privately owned.

But if the article gets people thinking more broadly about the merits of private-vs.-government health care, it will be a good start.

(Read the full text of "What the health care system can learn from McDonald's".  Link via R.B.)