Knowing is half the battle

They say knowledge is not indicative of change. Anyone who has tried to work on changing their own health behavior or worked with someone trying to help them change their health behavior knows this. We know what is good for us. We know what we should not eat. We know not to smoke. We know, we know and we know.

So if we “know” why don’t we change?

We have written about this issue before on this website:

“Changing healthcare must start with specific changes. What is the “biggest bang for the buck” that we can get?

Changing healthcare must be important to those making the change – this includes each member of the “community”. They all have to want it.

We all have to want it.

Maybe once we have collectively recognized the importance of changing healthcare we will change it.…and the change will be like wildfire.”

This website, in the weeks it has been up and running, has offered information on top of information about what is wrong in healthcare and what we all need to do to build the system we want, not the system we have. We know what so many of the problems are.

Why don’t “we” change?

It is one thing to point the finger at the system, and an entirely different thing to take responsibility for change and do something yourself.

What happens when you are made aware of an issue?

Consider what Dr. Jeff Brenner has done in Camden, New Jersey:

“The efforts of family physician Jeffrey Brenner are as a testament to how big data can empower an individual to find creative solutions to social problems. Moved by the shooting of a Rutgers University student that he witnessed and the poor police response, Brenner became obsessed with mapping crime data in his home of Camden, New Jersey. The police response to the shooting caused a local scandal, and Brenner served on a resulting police reform commission. When the Camden Police Department ignored the commission’s recommendations to generate crime maps, Brenner took matters into his own hands, generating his own crime maps from the medical billing records of the city’s three hospitals. In the process of mapping the city’s crime trends, Brenner began identifying significant issues with the city’s health care system. The data revealed that the city’s hospitals and emergency rooms were providing health care that was neither medically effective nor cost-effective.”

While it started with a map, Dr. Brenner did not stop there, but went straight to the heart of healthcare. He decided to make a difference himself and not wait on someone else to do it for him.

Everyday in our lives, we gain new knowledge. Sometimes we choose to act upon this knowledge – other times we don’t. Regardless of how the role we perceive ourselves in healthcare, there is likely we have some information that could be used to work towards change (if we even believe there is a need for change). Now imagine if we combined our knowledge. Even if we differed in opinions, this collective knowledge could be put to good use to benefit many.

To this end, the Occupy Healthcare community is inviting you to put your knowledge to good use and help us work towards healthcare change. In the coming weeks, we will be redesigning this website to make it more functional for the collective community to apply their knowledge. We plan to make the website more of a community where all voices can be heard.

For now, we invite you to continue to tune in her daily for new posts, and join our Google group and Facebook page.

Dr. Miller has his doctorate in clinical psychology and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine where he is the Director of the Office of Integrated Healthcare Research and Policy. His core task is to integrate mental health across all three of the department’s core mission areas: clinical, education, and research. Opinions expressed here are his own and not those of his employer.

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Posted in Health behavior, healthcare, Innovation
  • Phil Lawson

    Great post and great article in the New Yorker of Dr Jeff Brenner’s journey in discovery of the whole of health.

    I especially liked the comments;

    “A lot of what Brenner had to do, though, went beyond the usual doctor stuff.”

    The whole of health is complex, but not really complicated. We, as a society, just have never looked for it.

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