By Jeff Margolis
Prometheus Books, $21.00, 226 pages

Jeff Margolis’ The Healthcare Cure: How Sharing Information Can Make the System Work Better, is a close look at the deficiencies in American healthcare from a systems perspective, exploring the ways in which health information technology and evidence-based medicine can help control costs by helping to align incentives among the many stakeholders in what Margolis refers to as a “zero-sum game.” As CEO of healthcare technology company TriZetto Group, Margolis is an industry “insider”, offering a firsthand look at the ways information technology can bridge the growing gap between cost and quality of care through a system called “Integrated Healthcare Management” (IHM).  In IHM, consumers are part of a tailored health plan that provides financial incentives for following evidence-based medical practices, which reduce overall costs in the healthcare system by eliminating unnecessary and redundant tests and generally call for less invasive procedures to help with common ailments.

While Margolis’ utopian world of IHM seems unlikely to come to fruition in the exact manifestation proposed in this book, the current national focus on healthcare reform makes the timing perfect for an informed dialogue about the role healthcare information technology and information-sharing can play in keeping costs under control. In addition to offering a thought-provoking solution in which major stakeholders collaborate and work together to make care more affordable instead of fostering an unsustainable environment that drives costs continually upward with little improvement in quality, The Healthcare Cure is an excellent primer on healthcare basics for non-insiders looking to become better educated on the complex workings of such a massive system. Particularly during a time of such polarization on a critical issue like healthcare, it’s important that intelligent and well-formed ideas like Margolis garner consideration as we make our way toward a re-imagined system of American healthcare.

Reviewed by Alexandra Walford