The healthcare system in this country has gotten so far out of whack, it seems ridiculous to even refer to it as “healthcare”. Taken literally, it would lead you to believe the system is actually designed to care for your health, right? Unfortunately, for a whole host of reasons, many of which are profit-related, the reality is that we have become obsessed with “disease management” which, with it’s focus on alleviating symptoms and prolonging life under sometimes horrific circumstances, has little to do with maintaining one’s health by avoiding these chronic diseases in the first place. One of the drivers of this upside down approach is, of course, the billions of dollars made by the pharmaceutical companies in pushing pills and encouraging surgeries. Where’s the profit in telling someone to exercise, eat a plant-based diet, meditate and engage in all the other clinically proven strategies to stay healthy?
Fortunately, technology may be a reasonable way out of this mess; an answer to the desperate search on the part of individuals, companies, municipalities and others who are footing the bill for this terribly expensive and ineffective system. There is an emerging effort to capture and utilize specific individual health data in the context of outcomes, accepted standards of the most effective care and prevention and all the related expenses, then to share all this information with the individual, the primary care physician and the entire healthcare system. Imagine your having access to all your health information on your smartphone, with both you and your primary care physician being financially incentivized to communicate regularly on best practices for either remaining healthy or managing a condition in the most effective manner. The access to this massive pool of health data and the creative use of it is now putting the management of your healthcare back where it belongs, in the hands of you and your doctor. If you look at any employee population, for example, the largest health claims expense is related to a certain set of disease conditions. Reducing the incidence of these conditions among the employee group produces substantial savings, a portion of these dollars can then be used to encourage both healthy behavior among the employees and doctors to become more engaged in the maintenance of a patient’s health.
This is an effort that deserves your wholehearted support. Be on the lookout for companies like Medical Health Exchange (www.medicalhomeexchange.com) who are now providing this sophisticated and effective technology solution to large groups of employees. The healthcare system in this country is a behemoth that will not change easily. There are too many players with an enormous financial interest at stake and they will not give up their stranglehold without a fight, but those of us who are actually paying for this broken system are fed up and hungry for change. Whenever possible, seize the opportunity to do whatever you can to encourage the shift to a healthcare system that just makes so much more intuitive sense and will save billions of wasted dollars.
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