The U.S. healthcare system is a complex beast. There are some aspects that are really, really working and others that are really, really not working. Mostly it depends on your perspective, whether you have good health insurance and can afford out of pocket costs or whether you are sick, don’t have access to health coverage and find out of pocket costs to be burdensome.
Recently, NPR News along with RWJF and Harvard School of Public Health conducted a survey on what it is like to be sick in America. The results of that survey have been reported on NPR through a series titled, “Sick in America.”
The results illustrate just how complex the system is and how being sick or well, having health insurance or not impact one’s perception of both the cost and quality of healthcare.
We need to make sure that everyone has healthcare coverage that is adequate.
We need to ensure that all interactions between provider and patient are patient centered and include the family.
We need to move from a disease-based care model to a health and well-being model.
The U.S. spends more on healthcare per capita than any other nation but has outcomes comparable to developing nations.
When we have so many holes which is the most important to plug first? Is there a way to plug them all at once? I think that transformation has to occur on a variety of levels and in multiple arenas at once. There are things like cost, coverage and access that likely need to be tackled through legislation and policy at the federal level. However, my colleague wrote earlier this week about how cost, coverage and access are being addressed at the state level. Other issues like ensuring care that is high quality and patient centered can be addressed from inside the system by providers and healthcare organizations themselves. In fact, many healthcare organizations have already committed to creating patient centered organizations and addressing quality concerns.
What are you thoughts? What do you think are the most important holes to plug in this sinking ship?