There are lots of assumptions in the healthcare world. Some of the assumptions derived from the individual healthcare providers and/or their professional and accrediting agencies. Other assumptions arise from biases long-held by elected officials who must approve the use of public funds for selected services and deny them for others. Additional assumptions arise from major stakeholders in individual and corporate income and profits. Amo g the stakeholders are the pharmaceutical and healthcare supplies manufacturers (often, by the way, subsidiaries of Big Pharma companies), doctors of different specialties, insurance companies that manage healthcare facilities, and research universities that expect public sources to pay their overhead for operating the entire institution and not just the parts that cover healthcare research and medical treatment.
To develop a better healthcare system for everyone,j and in the area of dementia services where I focus my concerns, various kinds of cost-benefit studies are necessary. For instance, should dementia patients add a new, but generally unproven expensive drug to their treatment plans or instead receive a package of social services including care management, reimbursement of costs for services currently provided for free by their family members, respite services for caregivers, and patient and caregiver education. Should dementia patients get training on how to better make decisions, solve problems, and understand others better rather than some more medications purported to improve (but only slightly and only for some) their cognitive functioning.
For dementia patients, I strongly believe that cost-benefit studies need to be conducted to determine whether more cost-effective improved outcomes can be achieved with cognitive-social interventions, increased use of pharmaceuticals not fully proven to produce effects at this time, or combinations of the two.
It is very unlikely that at least within the foreseeable future there will be enough final resources to provide “perfect” treatment for each patient. Hence, it important to know the best combination of imperfect treatments that can be made available for different types of patients.
The following figure discusses some of the issues. Click on the image to expand its size.