Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 1997

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McDonaldization, is the term Ritzer derived from the McDonalds' fast food chain to describe the state of our society. Ritzer claims our social institutions have become completely dehumanized in the form of a bureaucracy. Health care is an example of one institution that is characterized by the four components of bureaucracy: efficiency, predictability, control and quantification.

In the past, health care was more simplistic in nature. House calls were no unheard of, and doctors knew all of their patients and their families on a personal level. The doctor who delivered your parents would deliver you as well as your future children. Follow-ups were quite normal; doctors were concerned with your progress for their own peace of mind.

Over time the modern health care system emerged into the bureaucratic organization that it is. All the characteristics depicted by Ritzer are easily seen when one examines health care. From a normal trip to the doctor for a routine check-up or even a specific ailment to rush trip in the emergency room predictability, control, efficiency, and quantification are obvious.

Quantification is easily seen when you first step into a hospital waiting room and a huge sign tells you a number before you are even able to speak to anyone. After waiting a while your number is called, you must give your health card number to the receptionist before continuing. You are then given a file number, which is your only identity for the time you spend within the hospital environment. After seeing the doctor you may come out with a few prescriptions which furthers your nameless ordeal. When you drop nameless ordeal. When you drop into a pharmacy to have a prescription filled the first thing they ask is if you know your prescription number. If you cannot remember it, your...