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Fixin' Healthcare

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Lifestyle Chronicles - Risk-Based + Problem-Based = Health Care

Does anyone remember when they began to recognize the widespread use of the word "risk"? To be sure, the concept of risk has been around a long time even when people did not recognize it as such. But, there is an apparant "newness" for popular perception of risk that represents wider public understanding of the concept. Identifing and managing risk has moved quickly into all aspects of society and daily life.

The recognition of risk and how it affects society is a work in progress. It is difficult to imagine that it will ever be completed. The financial industry is an example where risk is codified and implemented on a broad scale. Presumably, this is to reduce risk but failure persists and new risk based products continue to be developed.

Identifing risk and managing risk are dependent upon reliable information and the practical use of information. The two are linked but not necessarily coordinated. Prevention and safety are working concepts to implement and utilize risk. These are complex issues with many facets, such as cost benefit ratios and personal values.

As modern society becomes more complex, the concept of risk becomes more important. That being said, civilization has a long way to go to derive full value from the concept of risk. Without systematic and universal risk management, the health care system fails to achieve optimum health status for individuals and the population.

Health care in America is a problem-based system. Problem-based health care is responding after the fact. This is a retrospective view of health with increasing incidence of chronic health problems. The task is to determine how risk-based health care can change problem-based health care to achieve improved health status for the nation.

It is a matter of choice but it is several orders of evolution beyond the choices presented by the health care system of today. The dynamic mixing of risk-based health care with problem-based health care is already underway and it will create a new and different health care system.

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