Healing is an Art. Medicine is a Science. Healthcare is a Business. – Author unknown As much as each one of us would like to concentrate only on our patients and their families, the reality is that health care is a business. In addition, your treatment decisions will affect not only your revenue and costs but often the costs of other parties, including your patients, the hospital, and third-party payers. Because these other parties have an economic interest in your medical decisions, if you are not involved in and do not understand the economic issues, then others will make policies and rules that will significantly affect how you practice and what treatment options are available to your patients. Economics is defined as the science that deals with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The underlying fact is that resources are limited. Therefore, the economic problems faced by all of us are (1) the goods and services produced, (2) how they will be distributed, and (3) who will consume or use them. These economic questions are not limited to health care and acute pain management; they also exist for us as a society and for each of us personally. The goal of this chapter is not to present brand new concepts but to explain concepts and principles that each of us use in everyday life and show how these same concepts also exist in our professional life.
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