Managed Care

Jobs’s Death Offers Lesson About Importance of Data

John Marcille

Steve Jobs’s death prompted the flood of reflection and rumination that you’d expect when a great person exits. He changed the way we live. Without Jobs, there would be no desktop publishing and we at this magazine would, also, be without jobs.

It also drives home that hoary bit of wisdom that if you don’t have your health, you don’t have much of anything. How many of his billions would Jobs have given for another few quality years of life? How much would you give?

Jobs, you’ll recall, chose alternative medicine for months after being diagnosed with a pancreatic tumor that many experts feel was treatable. He rejected surgery at first and by the time he’d come to regret that decision, it was too late.

There are no guarantees in treating pancreatic cancer or, indeed, much else in life except for taxes, but Jobs should have followed the evidence. This issue of MANAGED CARE certainly does. Our cover story by Michael D. Dalzell, senior contributing editor, is all about the evidence that’s being sifted through as health plans prepare to find out what are essential benefits under the Affordable Care Act.

Our story about PSA testing talks about the evidence the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force looked at in ruling that the prostate cancer detector might do more harm than good, and how health plans may respond to the news. Then there’s our Q&A interview feature, where I interview Mary Barton, MD, vice president for performance measurement at the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Enough said.

Steve Jobs helped to usher in the information age, and the operative word in that phrase isn’t “information” but “age.” Geological ages can last millions of years, but we’re not placing any bets. Still, what Jobs started — the relentless search for, and organization of, information — continues apace, and that means that even more evidence is on the way. We’ll keep you informed.

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