Famous Patients: "N of 1" Cases and Health Policy Debates

Award Year:
Barron Lerner
History of Medicine and Health Care
Health policy debates surface at specific moments for a host of reasons. For example, they may be triggered by technological advances, greater attention to the costs of medical care, or by special interest groups pursuing an agenda. More often, however, a specific medical case or scandal pushes a policy issue into the headlines. Barron H. Lerner, M.D., Ph.D. scrutinizes influential cases in his new project, Famous Patients: N of 1 Cases and Health Policy Debates. Focusing on four policy areas - medical error, technology, death and dying, and patient activism, Dr. Lerner examines in detail 16 seminal medical cases and how they have advanced or impeded health policymaking. The project analyzes the factors that influenced the timing of specific health policy debates, the role the media has played in framing noteworthy medical cases, and the ways these cases have shaped policymaking, including the funding of controversial new treatments.