The McDonaldization of Medicine” Seriously?

Fast Food Method Philosophy = Fast Healthcare Method Philosophy

This is the first time I hear the expression “The McDonaldization of Medicine“. It does not mean what you think it means. It has nothing to do with McDonald’s being unhealthy or healthy or red or blue or yellow. Nope. It is a business model for medicine! It was just published in JAMA Neurology, one of the most prominent medical journals in the world. Coincidentally it published on what has come to be known as National Fast Food Day in the US. Coincidence? Not sure!

In case the link does not open for you, the full citation:

The McDonaldization of Medicine FREE ONLINE FIRST

E. Ray Dorsey, MD, MBA1; George Ritzer, PhD, MBA2
1Department of Neurology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York
2Department of Sociology, University of Maryland, College Park
JAMA Neurol. Published online November 16, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2015.3449

Fast Food versus Healthcare Expectations

While one certainly can and should expect a fast food place to provide fast service at lower price and associated lower quality than what one could eat in a fancy restaurant of higher price, one does not expect the same to be true of medicine or healthcare in general. In medicine, where people’s lives are at stake, one does not expect a business model that follows the fast food model: fast in and out, service quick, cheap, and quantity matters more than quality. Fast foods also have one more business model point that is often overlooked: quantity is more important than quality. Thus if McDonald’s (or any other fast food brand has) say ten thousand customers a day, making ten of them unhappy will not cause harm.

A health institution that sees patients as business revenue is not a health institution but a disease institution. Why? Because making people healthy is bad business! Who needs care when healthy? People need care when they are sick. Thus the McDonadlization (ouch I hate this word) of our healthcare system makes the system into a disease system.

Do we want a disease system to manage our health?

Why would we? That’s like asking the proverbial mouse to stand guard over the proverbial cheese. I am glad I happened to read the JAMA’s today story today totally by accident. Normally articles pile up for me to read but fate brought me in touch with reality: We have been McDonaldized!

So how do we stop this nonsense? By making demands from our doctors! When you have your next visit for whatever reason, tell him or her that you pay for the services received and you have earned the right to the detailed explanations, the exact numbers in print as well so you can go to another doctor and have them explain the same thing and see the conflict! Also, do not forget to check the database to see how much money your doctor has taken from big pharma in 2014! Chances are it will amount to more than $10. If so, be aware that you are money (or food or vacation) in the eye of your doctor and not a patient! Some of my migraine sufferers found doctors who made over $80,000 in 2014 on medicines they prescribed! They have a vested interest in you being McDonalized and that you eat as much junk food as possible.

Oh, and by the way, by junk food I mean the following: sugar, sugar substitutes, fruit juices, fruit and vegetable smoothies, fruit and vegetable shakes, vegetable juices and puree like V8 or tomato sauce, and while we are at it, add to the junk food list all non-fat, low-fat, and reduced low-calorie anything, and vegetable oils as well. If you really want to eat healthy, also add to the list of junk food all grains: bread, pastas, cereal, cakes, biscuits, and whatever is made with them. And to top it all off, put all canned and prepared foods to the list of junk foods!

Now then. Shall we head to the grocery store and shop? We really only have about 4 shelves to use for shopping: dairy (get whole milk, whole yogurt if you find any and with no sugar added, whole milk cheese if you find any (you can’t, so buy not American like Brie), then pick up some heavy whipping cream for extra fat (do not add sugar and do buy a whipping machine for like $15 on amazon or elsewhere! Then grab some lovely cage free grass-fed free range eggs, head to the meat counter and buy some wonderful pasture raised beef with fat, pork, chicken, fish (with skin on and wild caught) and then the produce island to pick up veggies, fruits, and nuts and seeds. If you need oil head for the special oil section of olive, grape seed (love that one!), coconut oil, or use butter.

Done. It was easy! Now you have officially been un-McDonaldized… sheesh… the word is getting worse and worse… But once you have done all these, who needs a doctor? 🙂

Comments are welcome as always!


About Angela A Stanton, Ph.D.

Angela A Stanton, PhD, is a Neuroeconomist focusing on chronic pain--migraine in particular--physiology, electrolyte homeostasis, nutrition, and genetics. She lives in Southern California. Her current research is focused on migraine cause, prevention, and treatment without the use of medicine. As a forever migraineur from childhood, her discovery was helped by experimenting on herself. She found the cause of migraine to be at the ionic level, associated with disruption of the electrolyte homeostasis, resulting from genetic variations of all voltage dependent channels, gates, and pumps (chanelopathy) that modulate electrolyte mineral density and voltage in the brain. In addition, insulin and glucose transporters, and several other variants, such as MTHFR variants of B vitamin methylation process and many others are different in the case of a migraineur from the general population. Migraineurs are glucose sensitive (carbohydrate intolerant) and should avoid eating carbs as much as possible. She is working on her hypothesis that migraine is a metabolic disease. As a result of the success of the first edition of her book and her helping over 5000 migraineurs successfully prevent their migraines world wide, all ages and both genders, and all types of migraines, she published the 2nd (extended) edition of her migraine book "Fighting The Migraine Epidemic: Complete Guide: How To Treat & Prevent Migraines Without Medications". The 2nd edition is the “holy grail” of migraine cause, development, and prevention, incorporating all there is to know. It includes a long section for medical and research professionals. The book is full of academic citations (over 800) to authenticate the statements she makes to make it easy to follow up by those interested and to spark further research interest. It is a "Complete Guide", published on September 29, 2017. Dr. Stanton received her BSc at UCLA in Mathematics, MBA at UCR, MS in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, PhD in Economics with dissertation in neuroscience (culminating in Neuroeconomics) at Claremont Graduate University, fMRI certification at Harvard University Medical School at the Martinos Center for Neuroimaging for experimenting with neurotransmitters on human volunteers, certification in LCHF/ketogenic diet from NN (Nutrition Network), certification in physiology (UPEN via Coursea), Nutrition (Harvard Shool of Public Health) and functional medicine studies. Dr. Stanton is an avid sports fan, currently power weight lifting and kickboxing. For relaxation (yeah.. about a half minute each day), she paints and photographs and loves to spend time with her family of husband of 45 years, 2 sons and their wives, and 2 granddaughters. Follow her on Twitter at: @MigraineBook, LinkedIn at and facebook at
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8 Responses to The McDonaldization of Medicine” Seriously?

  1. Roald Michel says:

    Whenever going for a lab test, I simply tell the people there I want the results (a print out) handed over to me personally and a copy of same they can send to the doctor. Works great.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is how it should be but apparently doctors do not permit it very many times! More than I wish to hear! Today we also discovered a doctor (a neurologist, not in California but in an Eastern US state) who last year accepted $238,047.77 (there was more only this was one lump sum and the rest were smaller amounts) from big pharma for prescribing medicines for patients. This is what we are dealing with Roald. Not sure how it is in Aruba but whatever system we have here sucks… and I am fighting a cold… need a punching glove!


      • Roald Michel says:

        Guess the docs, here and elsewhere, learned by now I don’t take stuff like “I don’t permit” for an answer. I once informed one, if I ever would find out he had not tell me the truth about my condition, he would need visiting the next ER sooner than me. From that time on, we had a perfect medical relationship 😀

        A punching glove? The time I was taught street fighting, I was instructed to always take the gloves off before landing my punch.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I don’t want to break a nail.. a glove is protection. 😀 I have a system too. Every doctor of mine calls me Dr. Stanton. If they don;t I call them in their first name or Mr/Mrs so and so… they hate that so they call me Dr. Stanton (which I am albeit not an MD). Since they call me that way, I get the treatment of a doctor and the test results are never summarized but sent raw as is so I can see the full picture. By the way, this sweetener free life really works. I had non-alcoholic fatty liver disease from sugar proven by ultrasound last year. I quit sugar about 6 months ago. latest ultrasound shows I completely reversed it and have a perfectly healthy liver. It makes sense to quit the sweet stuff. People look at me like crazy but I no longer even have the desire to touch it. Are you still eating it?


        • Roald Michel says:

          A certain kind of people call me chief or capitano 😀

          I never add any and watch what I’m buying. I don’t drink any juices, only water, an occasional beer, and a couple of rum shots now and then. But unlike you, I’m not completely free from it, as I still eat bread, and sometimes caramel ice cream with pecans seduces me 😦

          Liked by 1 person

        • You are easy to seduce Roald! 😀 (Cheap date!) lol… but then you are not a migraineur and that is fine. 😉 Off to zzzzzz time now. have a nice one!


  2. Roald Michel says:

    McDonaldization of medicine, or any other area for that matter, is rooted in mainstream indifference, plaguing western industrialized societies already for ages.

    From the JAMA article: ” If we are going to count in medicine, let it not be the number of medical records reviewed but rather the number of lives touched, minds stimulated, and hearts moved.” That’s what I had in mind from the time I began working as a counselor/therapist/consultant, knowing if I wanted to make a difference, there was no other way. Same as it should be outside of the office.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you. The author in JAMA is saying what everyone says but no one does, except for a handful of doctors who follow Pamela Wible’s call for action on TED:

      Well over 99% of all US medical care is based on the fast-food model. In fact, in the US, we also face another problem: Desirable places like New York or Los Angeles or San Francisco have the best doctors because they want to live in these places. The rest of the US (by enlarge, exceptions exist) gets those doctors who were not taken by the primary locations. So far I have only heard bad news about most of these doctors–again, I am not saying that all are like this but this is what I hear from patients and what I see from the types of prescriptions they get, the types of explanations they get for their blood tests (normal or not normal, never a number and in some places they even refuse to give numbers), and the options they end up with (heavy anti depressants or anti seizure drugs for migraineurs that neither have depression nor seizures) often with double prescriptions so their patients end up overdosed. And they don;’ care.

      The system is broken and the problem is not correctable with ease if at all in a large country like this.


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