Quality vs. Quantity
Roz Chast, the wonderful cartoonist for The New Yorker magazine, has written and il-
lustrated a memoir called “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” that details
the last years of her parents’ lives. She takes us through all the frailties, doctor visits,
hospital stays, deterioration, assisted care, nursing homes and the immense bureaucrat-
ic webwork of dealing with people who are gradually approaching the end. Very gradu-
ally, in the case of her parents, which only makes it more torturous. Along the way, she
muses “When I hear about people trying to figure out how to live to 120, I want to ask
them: ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?!!”
Good question, and one that we have to look at on both a personal basis and a medical/
societal basis. We give lip service to the idea that “quality of life” is at least as important as length of life. But
that’s not how we act, especially in high-tech societies. We often do our best to stave off the final decree as long
as possible, regardless of how much pain and money that involves.
So it’s good to see that we’re expanding our view of “healthcare” to include true quality of life issues. And
maybe, along the way, we’ll come to accept the idea that length and quality are really not that closely related.
In the point of care space, which we cover inside, the goal is not just about getting medicinal messaging to
patients. It’s also about lifestyle changes and nutritional education and all the other things that contribute to
life’s better experiences. When you’re in the doctor’s office to discuss your diabetes, wouldn’t it be helpful if the
medical advice about diet and exercise were accompanied by resources that would help you follow that advice?
Well, that’s part of what the point of care space is aiming at.
As for that other contributor to quality of life – making a living – be sure to check out our first annual Salary Survey. Compared to most of America (in fact, most of the first world), people in this industry are doing rather well.
And, we’re happy to add, doing a lot of good in addition.
Neil Greenberg, Editor
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Letter from the Editor