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Fixin' Healthcare

Saturday, December 10, 2005

A Gentle Wind Bringing Change

Health care in the United States has begun a transformation that is expanding and shifting the focus from diagnosis and treatment of illness and disease to health promotion and cost effective prevention. Scattered communities throughout the US and the world have initiated activities and projects moving in this direction. It is too early to determine exactly how this will proceed but there are several trends that deserve consideration.

The traditional medical model functions best within very narrow boundaries that encompass illness and disease. Outside of these boundaries the medical model is grossly inefficient and even dangerous. For example, the overuse of medications increases the incidence of serious side effects. Also, it is apparent that public health as it currently functions has limited leverage to exert the leadership for the type of change that will remodel the health care system.

The opportunity lies with communities that want to redefine themselves and raise the level of health status for all citizens. It requires the ability to explore, create, evaluate and implement new models for health promotion and disease prevention. The community becomes the laboratory and every institution and individual is a participant and partner.

This is a process that must avoid duplication and creation of unecessary overhead. It can be a powerful force that is based upon attitude and perspective rather than buildings and equipment. The linking and engagement of individual responsibility and community commitment will change everyone over time in untold ways.

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