When I use a word . . . . Examining the efficiency paradox
Abstract: Healthcare involves tackling patients’ problems using many different types of resources, both human and technological, and the spaces in which they operate. Variability in, on the one hand, human abilities, the performance of technologies, and the available facilities, and, on the other, the problems that patients present with distorts our ability to maximize the efficiency with which we use healthcare resources while minimizing the time a patient spends in the healthcare system and the inconvenience involved. Variability in demand and lack of resources also contribute. The efficiency paradox is that in healthcare efficient use of resources tends to increase the time a patient spends in the system and the inconvenience involved. But the efficiency paradox is not a paradox at all. It is a consequence of identifiable problems in the way that healthcare is delivered, albeit without identifiable solutions that can be simply implemented.