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July 27, 2005

Efficiency in the Health Care Industries: A View From the Outside

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Dr Grove is former chairman of the board of Intel Corporation, Santa Clara, Calif.

JAMA. 2005;294(4):490-492. doi:10.1001/jama.294.4.490

The health science/health care industry and the microchip industry are similar in some important ways: both are populated by extremely dedicated and well-trained individuals, both are based on science, and both are striving to put to use the result of this science. But there is a major difference between them, with a wide disparity in the efficiency with which results are developed and then turned into widely available products and services.

To be sure, there are additional fundamental differences between the 2 industries. One industry deals with the well-defined world of silicon, the other with living human beings. Humans are incredibly complex biological systems, and working with them has to be subject to safety, legal, and ethical concerns. Nevertheless, it is helpful to mine this comparison for every measure of learning that can be found.

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