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January 2016

The McDonaldization of Medicine

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York
  • 2Department of Sociology, University of Maryland, College Park

Copyright 2016 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA Neurol. 2016;73(1):15-16. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2015.3449

As put forth in The McDonaldization of Society, “the principles of the fast-food restaurant are coming to dominate more and more sectors of American society,”1 including medicine (Table). While designed to produce a rational system, the 4 basic principles of McDonaldization—efficiency, calculability, predictability, and control—often lead to adverse consequences. Without measures to counter McDonaldization, medicine’s most cherished and defining values including care for the individual and meaningful patient-physician relationships will be threatened.