I first heard of Dr. Marty Makary one year ago while visiting with a congressional staffer. The staffer referred to Makary as Mr. Transparency and had a book coming out in which he was going to include devastating comments about hospital care.
I just finished his book, “Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care.” Suffice it to say that Dr. Makary is a salaried academician who has written a book on quality transparency, while extolling the virtues of the “free market.” I am going to blog extensively about his book (easily read in one evening) for several reasons. Part of what he has written is insightful and useful. I will comment on that and why I think some of what he has pointed out is important.
I will focus primarily on the outrageous shortcomings of his book, however. My extreme criticism of his book comes from his incredible inconsistency, his lack of understanding of anything having to do with the “free market” and this final point. Having declared himself a judge of quality, he has (probably successfully) established himself as one whose “stamp of approval” many will now seek. I have seen physicians take this “now that I have declared my own wisdom and greatness by pointing out other’s failures, it must be so,” approach in their practices and am afraid that is what we are seeing here. He will make a lot of money on this book and will be highly sought after as a quality guru, having declared himself to be a medical judge of all things, I predict.
I’ll dissect his book from the beginning and show where he adds to the current debate and where I think he falls shockingly short. I’ll leave you with this: he never mentions overcharging hospitals or price transparency in his entire book. I’ll get after this book with my next blog.
G. Keith Smith, M.D.