September 17, 1973

Health Care and Technology

JAMA. 1973;225(12):1527. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220400053013

In the term "delivery of health care," the word "delivery" somehow seems odious or at least denigrating. It brings to mind the boy who plops a paper at the door each morning or the truck driver who hauls goods to the market place. Physicians and their co-workers strive to promote health and to prevent and treat diseases. They provide rather than deliver. Even the obstetrician who is sometimes said to deliver babies doesn't really do that. A baby results from the union of an ovum and a sperm, after which the mother carries the baby until she delivers it. Usually, but not always, a physician assists; midwives, fathers, taxi drivers, and policemen sometimes serve.

This preamble about delivery seemed necessary because Scott,1 a biomedical engineer, uses the word when he advocates "a more significant role... for those who develop technology" to the end that the health care delivery system