Meeting the healthcare needs of the community often requires innovation and creativity.
Take for example the barbershop in Harlem that serves double duty as a health clinic.
Or, what about when school based health clinics start serving the surrounding community instead of just the kids that come to school?
What about Minnesota’s “community paramedic” program that aims to meet the needs of a rural and undeserved community?
Mobile phones transforming the way healthcare is delivered?
Innovation has many drivers, and often one of the most significant drivers is a communities need. In healthcare, there is often significant disparity in those who have insurance and those who do not (and many, many other examples). For a comprehensive overview, see the always interesting AHRQ National Healthcare Quality and Disparities report. How does our innovation address (or not address) what the community needs? Do we have the capacity (or opportunity) to be more creative in what we do for healthcare?
“National polls show that most Americans are more worried about health services than about losing their jobs, paying their rent or mortgage, losing money in the stock market, or becoming the victim of a terrorist attack. Health services rank fourth in people’s priorities, after war, the economy, and Social Security. Half of the population is very worried about the costs of care, and one third is very worried about the quality of care—many more than are worried about care for specific medical problems.”
Sometimes we need to get creative to mitigate this “worry” The late Dr. Starfield describes above. Sometimes we need to think about healthcare in an entirely different way. Sometimes we need to take blood pressure readings in a hair salon. Sometimes we need to not only transform the way we deliver healthcare, but we also need to transform our thinking about the limitations and confines of our current system. When we do, there is an opportunity for disruption and innovation in healthcare.
Why settle for the status quo?
In doing so, you just might meet the healthcare needs of the community.