That's the American health care industry, as described by The Atlantic in its introduction to David Goldhill's story, "How American Health Care Killed My Father."
It's difficult to choose one worthy excerpt of this fine piece, but I chose this one:
How can a facility featuring state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment use less-sophisticated information technology than my local sushi bar? How can the ICU stress the importance of sterility when its trash is picked up once daily, and only after flowing onto the floor of a patient's room? Considering the importance of a patient's frame of mind to recovery, why are the rooms so cheerless and uncomfortable? In whose interest is the bizarre scheduling of hospital shifts, so that a five-week stay brings an endless string of new personnel assigned to a patient's care? Why, in other words, has this technologically advanced hospital missed out on the revolution in quality control and customer service that has swept all other consumer-facing industries in the past two generations?
I'm a businessman, and in no sense a health-care expert. But the persistence of bad industry practices--from long lines at the doctor's office to ever-rising prices to astonishing numbers of preventable deaths--seems beyond all normal logic, and must have an underlying cause. There needs to be a business reason why an industry, year in and year out, would be able to get away with poor customer service, unaffordable prices, and uneven results--a reason my father and so many others are unnecessarily killed.
Read the entire story.