Healthcare in the United States is a mess. I could reiterate the complexities, but my fellow MBA student, Lali Sekhon, has done an impeccable job of highlighting the issue in the Healthcare 101 series in his blog. From a high level, we are riddled with exorbitant costs, burned out healthcare providers, costly chronic health conditions exacerbated by poor lifestyle choices, political divides on how healthcare should be paid for and poverty. I’ve now worked in both the public and private sector in healthcare and the paralysis around changing the system and how healthcare is delivered is mindblowing. Trying to unravel the system will leave you sick to your stomach with the way capitalism has exploited the basic right to health. I’m not trying to insight a political conversation (though you can if you want to) on the ideological principles on the right to healthcare, but I do know that a reinvention in healthcare is necessary.
There is a lot of good in the U.S. healthcare system. We have compassionate healthcare providers who work on the front lines of this broken system every day with rewards that are minimal in comparison to the sacrifice that they put forth. We have incredible technology, innovation and research institutions that support progress towards improved health. We also have a multitude of professionals (like me) who work behind the scenes to keep the system moving forward and making the changes that we can.
What I think has been lost in healthcare is logic. Our health is our most valuable asset and when forced to make a decision in regards to our well being, we do whatever means necessary to restore ourselves to “normal”. There has been significant discussion around whether we are a patient or a consumer when it comes to our health, but this dichotomy has been exploited to slowly deteriorate the ethics, human centered care and effective delivery system models that should be inherent in our healthcare system. We have lost the logic on how healthcare should be delivered and we no longer know or have the courage to change it.
When I was 10, my family physician asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I told him I wanted to be a doctor and I clearly remember him saying “don’t do it”. The system was breaking then and now it is broken. We “consume” a lot…
But our healthcare outcomes are at the bottom
When I worked in the public sector, making change was nearly impossible. Now I work in pediatric telehealth with a mission to provide services to the underserved and it is nearly impossible. As I iterated in my previous blog on children and poverty, the impacts are profound and are continually embedded in our society. It is wrong. The system is riddled with greed, fraud, waste and abuse but this is not a representation of what truly exists in healthcare. Look at our front line workers during COVID:
The call to action is to stop being a part of the fear of making the right choices and bring logic back to the table to do what is right in healthcare. Stop hiding behind the veil of this is the way the system is or that it may increase the risk of fraud. When we do this, we let the system control our healthcare and we diminish everyone’s quality of life. This is not a public or private system issue, but rather an issue of our humanity and how we know that our healthcare should be supported. There are so many items in a “consumer” market that I can choose not to purchase, but healthcare is not one. We are all part of the healthcare system in some form or another.
What are you thoughts on how to reinvent healthcare? How do we bring these actions forward?