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Book Review

Book Review- Where Does it Hurt?

by Sarah Whiteside (’24)

Over the summer, I encountered a book called Where Does it Hurt?: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Fixing Health Careby Jonathan Bush. I was curious to investigate the history of our healthcare system and understand the basic underpinnings of the system. This book was informative, concise, and engaging. Here are some of the best points I noticed while reading it! 

Healthcare policy is a contentious topic. Many students are starting to formulate the world around them and decipher their own thoughts and opinions. As students gain a better understanding of the healthcare system in both the U.S. and other countries, they soon realize that there is not one perfect structure. There are flaws in all healthcare systems, and the systemic dysfunction is often concealed because the root of the problem is neglected. Jonathan Bush, cofounder and CEO of athenahealth, as well as author of the guide, attempted to expose the corrupted state of healthcare in America and compare it to other countries. His company, athenahealth, handles the paperwork and electronic records for more than fifty thousand medical providers nationwide. Doctors spend so much time consumed with paperwork, leading to less job satisfaction within the field. Thus, Bush wanted to generate a business that focused on this problem. In the book, he calls for a revolution in healthcare that would give individuals more choices and provide the patient more freedom, power, and information. Bush shares his own perspective of the situation based on his days as an ambulance driver and his background as an entrepreneur launching a start-up.  

Throughout his book, he continually expresses the idea that technology is a source for change; he is an advocate for improvement and believes that technology has the power to restore patient empathy and lower the cost of the healthcare system. Often times, the deep connection between the patient and physician is lost due to the doctor’s busy schedule; Bush notes that approximately half of a doctor’s working life is spent not treating patients. Digitally run healthcare systems could positively impact clinical care and improve the relationship between the patient and the doctor. However, he also brings up some obstacles that come in the way: hospitals do not run like a normal business, the rates are expensive, and “the sad truth is that in hospitals, we pay for a Ritz experience, but the service we get is below the YMCA” (2). Bush believes that patients are only seen as a source of revenue. Hospitals hold power over other industries because they have the ability to save lives. His vision of a new healthcare system involves market strategies and competitive pricing. He explains that we need “shopping” in healthcare to both fix healthcare and express our own humanity and freedom.  

This book was eye-opening and provides fascinating facts/statistics, so I would definitely recommend checking it out to unravel more information about our healthcare system! 

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