by : Nushift
The COVID19 crisis and the toll that it has taken has raised a lot of questions on our fragmented and under-prepared healthcare infrastructure. However, a more pertinent question that many are asking is the fragmented nature of our healthcare infrastructure where none of the constituents – Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Healthcare Systems – talk to each other. Why has no one bothered to align these three very essential systems which together can form the backbone of a nation-wide healthcare infrastructure which is effective, efficient and can really make healthcare affordable to all.
The price of a fragmented healthcare infrastructure is there for all to see. COVID19 has exposed the soft underbelly of an archaic system which needs to change NOW. The answer is not how much more money we can pump in, rather how can we create a long-term solution by rewarding health care providers that achieve demonstrably better quality and efficiency, improve high-cost patient care management, reduce medical errors and improve care coordination. Fundamentally, we must act to ensure that the benefits of modern medicine are widely accessible, and to ensure that investment in health care contributes to economic growth and a healthier, more productive society.
So, how do we go about creating such a system. If your answer is CONSUMER-DRIVEN HEALTHCARE, then it is the wrong answer. Pushing just COST to the patient is unlikely to address the fundamental causes of rising health care costs. In fact, it is likely to have adverse consequences for patients. You could argue for reduced administrative costs etc. but is that the real answer?
So, what can be done?
One reason we lack a comprehensive approach to health costs is that it is not really anyone’s job in our fragmented health system. Health-care institutions are changing how they deliver care in ways that make sense for them, keeping an eye on market leaders and competitors.
So, we could start by taking positive action on multiple fronts. A comprehensive national approach to controlling healthcare costs by coordinating the disparate efforts. Efforts to reduce costs and improve quality focus on reforming the delivery of medical care. Reduce unnecessary hospital stays and overuse of tests and procedures.
All the above are promising but they still do not represent a comprehensive approach to health-care costs.
What is the answer?
Simply put, get the Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Healthcare infrastructure under one roof. Get them to talk to each other for the benefit of the patient. At the same time, create a system which CONNECTS end-users and patients, doctors and para-medical professionals; EMPOWER them to reach out to their network for information, guidance and support; EDUCATE them so that they can discern the truth from the myth; finally, get them to COLLABORATE by forming a nation-wide grid which is putting information and data to good use.
When you empower patients and end-users, when you educate them to reach out for the right help at the right place and at the right time, you are not only integrating the healthcare infrastructure but you are also reducing unnecessary costs.