Reprinted from Business Week
Sometimes medicine performs just as it should. Vaccines have banished smallpox. Surgery can cure early-stage colon cancer. But the disturbing truth is treatments that are proven to work reach only about half of the Americans who need them, according to a series of studies by RAND Corp. And in hospitals, simple measures that protect patients' lives are often hard to implement.
Hygiene is a good example. For 150 years we have known that doctors with unwashed hands pass infections from patient to patient. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention figures that 80% of hospital-acquired infections are transmitted this way, costing billions of dollars annually to treat and killing thousands of people.
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medicines industrial revolution.doc