The treatment which has been proven over the past years for heart attack, pneumonia, and congestive heart failure is NOT being given to many patients in the United States.
The treatments are now standard. They have been agreed upon over decades as life saving procedures for patients suffering these serious ailments which are often (or, in the case of congestive heart failure, normally life-threatening). There is an article this week in the New England Journal of Medicine showing that are the norm in most medical practice and are not being used for the patients appropriate for them.
The Detroit News recently reported that:
" Reviewing data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on 10 indicators for quality of care at 3,558 hospitals in the first half of 2004, researchers at Harvard School of Public Health found that simple, universally accepted treatments were not provided for:
• 11 percent of heart attack patients.
• 19 percent of those with congestive heart failure.
• 29 percent of pneumonia sufferers."
There is a problem in modern medical practice (more than one, actually). While there are "evidence based guidelines" for these most serious afflictions and conditions, it is not always possible to get 100% of the practicing physicians to follow them.
Another member of the accreditation group was quoted as saying, "The studies illustrate a problem in modern medicine. While there's a growing list of scientifically supported protocols for specific conditions called "evidence-based medicine," physicians and hospitals don't always follow them.
Making the shift requires creating evidence-based guidelines, getting hospitals and doctors to accept they're the right thing to do, agreeing how to measure results, and finding processes to make sure they happen, Loeb said.
Those processes are likely to involve financial incentives, he said. "As much as we like to think of medicine as an altruistic profession, green seems to be the color of the (needed) elixir."