Friday, August 10, 2007

Developing a sound strategy for fixing the healthcare crisis

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been engaged in an interesting discussion on the Unity08 web site forum at This grass-roots (bottom-up) political movement, which I recently discovered, “ committed to presenting a third presidential ticket and platform – one that addresses the issues and challenges of the 21st Century – to the American voters in 2008.”

I’m not pushing a political agenda here, but do want to invite the readers of this blog to see what we’ve been discussing (and join in if you wish) as we attempt to develop a platform promoting a value-driven, evidence-based, consumer-centric universal healthcare system.

Here’s my introduction to the topic “Curing Healthcare: Developing a sound strategy for fixing the healthcare crisis”:
I'm thankful that healthcare consumers are finally becoming aware that our healthcare system is seriously ill. But few are aware how broken the system really is, how incredibly complex the problem is, the many shortcomings of the predominant solutions being proposed, and the strategies & tactics that hold real promise for fixing the system.

We see the U.S. healthcare system as being on the verge of collapse: Millions cannot afford health insurance; care quality is inferior compared to many other nations, while our costs are highest by far; there is little incentive to deliver cost-effective treatments and little knowledge of what constitutes high-value care; healthcare providers are squeezed financially and are unable to spend adequate time with their patients because arbitrary rules control costs without regard to quality of care; the insurance and payment models are seriously disturbed; emergency rooms are over-crowded; many of our veterans don't receive adequate care; competition between providers is misdirected; new health insurance plans put consumers at serious risk; medical malpractice suits are rampant and professional insurance is through the roof; and so on.

Bottom line is that our healthcare system is widely acclaimed for its technological hardware, yet ranks embarrassingly low in performance, access and fairness. Can it be reformed to benefit all stakeholders?

We believe the answer is yes.

My associates and I—who include doctors, nurses, counselors, patients, researchers, policy makers, economists, and others—have spent many years studying these problems and creating a sound blueprint for solving the healthcare crisis. The strategy we propose offers 20 useful tactics for changing broken healthcare policies and practices by focusing on such things as wellness, value creation (i.e., care quality improvement and cost control), consumer/patient empowerment, reforming current economic models, delivery of personalized medicine, interdisciplinary collaboration, conducting better research to develop practice guidelines and identify dangerous medications and procedures, changing the way providers compete, supporting first responders in emergencies, understanding the mind-body connection, understanding the benefits and risks of complementary and alternative approaches to care, and using innovative information technologies to aid decisions.
The post above has led to discussions of important issues you may find interesting.

I'm going to be away for the next two weeks and look forward to resume blogging upon my return.

Be well till then ...
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