Lecture on health care policy at Stanford

September 16, 2008

I spoke today at the 10th anniversary of the Center for Health Policy (CHP) and the Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research (PCOR) at Stanford University. The webcast of the lecture is available here. (Here are the slides from the talk.) My remarks touched upon a theme that I will be discussing in more detail in other lectures later this fall: that just as the field of economics suffered because it mostly ignored psychology for too long, so too much of medical science and health policy has been largely ignoring the crucial role of expectations, beliefs, and norms. Perhaps the most compelling example involves the placebo effect, which tends to be dismissed as a statistical annoyance rather than examined in and of itself as a powerful force -- often more potent empirically than the 'medical' intervention formally being studied.