Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Future - Dream of a Perfect Health System

Last night I dreamt of a perfect health system.

It would be integrated with health plans, hospitals, doctors, and consumers having seamless equal say, pay, and power.

It would feature empowered consumers, each with personally controlled personal health records and instant access to records of doctors and hospitals they might want to visit or consult.

It would offer consumers unlimited choice and freedom to choose their doctors and treatment modalities and facilities.

It would have consumers following all of the rules of prevention and behavior – getting their tests, fleecing, eating right, exercising, and avoiding drugs, booze, and nicotine.

It would have doctors with practice websites, e-mail access, personal videos, and cell phones showing their picture as they spoke and sophisticated electronic record systems telling patients and doctors everything they wanted to know about each other.

It would have all the bells and whistles of health 3.0, including firewalls and other fail-safe systems that would prevent any breeches of patient or physician security.

It would ensure complete documentation of everything that occurred in the doctor-patient encounter, including audio and video recordings of what transpired.

It would treat all doctors fairly and equally with no financial differences between primary care physicians and specialists and with their educational and practice debts taken fully into account.

It would have instantaneous universal access at the point of care on genetic, environmental, historical, diagnostic support, and the latest research information from anywhere on the planet..

It would have protocols, algorithms, and evidence-based guidelines that would take the guesswork out of medical practice.

It would have lists of top local, regional, national, and international doctors for procedures, diseases, and life style conditions.

It would be absolutely safe – no drug interactions, no hospital hazards, no iatrogenic infections, no complications such as bed sores or venous occlusions.

It would offer financial support for patients and doctors alike – with all things covered, no fears of patient bankruptcy, and no trepidations about underpayment or exclusion of doctors.

It would cover and protect absolutely everybody for everything under the sun.

Then I awoke, pulled the covers all, and faced an imperfect but more plausible day.

I’ve got to go now. I have an appointment with a doctor my neighbor recommended


kevinh76 said...

I think you have proposed the elements of a very good system. Now we have to work at getting there. It will take at least 20 or as long as 50 years to get from here to there. And since there will be humans and money involved, someone is always going to be trying to game the system for their advantage. Like my patient who had a totally unnecessary cardiac nuclear scan at the cardiologist office today - paid for by my children and their unborn offspring with interest on the Medicare Credit card.

Jeff Barkoff said...

First, I've printed this out, posted in a public place in my office, and have walked by it a couple of times to see how it feels.

And it feels...right.

Right for the physicians whose career decisions should be applauded, rewarded, and encouraged.

Right for the patients and people who demand on having access to quality and quantity of healthcare services.

Right for hospital organizations that seek to provide the best possible patient care for anyone who walks in the front door - and then out the door again as a healthier individual.

There is a perfect system out there. It should be held as our collective vision. Our goal. Our responsibility.

*Dream it. Believe it. Do it.*