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Remaking the American PatientHow Madison Avenue and Modern Medicine Turned Patients into Consumers$
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Nancy Tomes

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469622774

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469622774.001.0001

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The Barbarians Are at the Gate

(p.388) Conclusion
Remaking the American Patient

Nancy Tomes

University of North Carolina Press

This concluding chapter examines efforts to make health care more consumer-friendly, including coupons for prescription drugs, lotteries for in vitro fertilization treatments, and smartphone apps to measure blood pressure or blood sugar. It first considers how cellphones and wireless connections can enable patient-consumers to gain easier access to their medical records, along with the attitudes of health providers toward such prospects. It then discusses the inroads that the language of retail has made into contemporary discussions of patient care; the extent to which older distinctions between professionalism and commercialism have persisted in American medicine today; and the positive achievements of medical consumerism. It also assesses the quality of care in 2015 compared to 1965 and looks at the debates over who should bear the rising costs of medical care. Finally, it emphasizes the importance of medical consumerism in addressing the challenges that lie ahead with regards to medical care.

Keywords:   health care, prescription drugs, cellphones, patient-consumers, patient care, medical consumerism, quality of care

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