The healthcare delivery system in the United States is unlike any other business. Those in real estate who intend to work in this industry should understand its peculiarities. The hospital sector is largely not-for-profit and driven by forces often unrelated to market conditions. Physicians are largely organized as a cottage industry with relatively small, autonomous units. Patients, who are the ultimate consumers of healthcare, are largely unaware of the true characteristics of the services that they consume and often do not make rational purchasing decisions. Third parties pay for the care and often do not fully understand the services for which they are paying. These are insurance companies for most of the population and government through Medicare and Medicaid for the elderly and the poor. The result is a system that generates high expenditures but uncertain outcomes.
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