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Fixin' Healthcare

Monday, January 24, 2011

War Without Victory

Medical care continues to increase in complexity as measured by the variety and highly technical nature of the services, as well as by the size and fragmentation of the medical care system. By default people come to rely upon health care professionals who are expert in one or another selected aspect of medical care. Medical care professionals do not always relieve sickness or cure disease and their limited time with the patient is consumed with attention to the sickness and disease. Broader consideration of health during the throes of illness may seem misplaced. Secondary and primary prevention are discussions for a later date, if at all.

But any discussion of disease or health between patients and health care providers takes time that is not built into how the medical care system functions and patients often are not prepared to grasp the nature of what they are hearing. Even if such discussions were to transpire, and I am not saying that they don't in some cases, the effort is insufficient to provide insight to patients about the manner and means to achieve optimum health status. That is a more involved process spanning much of a lifetime.

Perhaps it is unreasonable to expect providers of medical care to venture into the value systems, beliefs and philosophy of achieving and maintaining optimum health status. That is not what medical care professionals are asked to when diagnosing and treating illness, disease, injury and disability. Medical care functions with a philosophy best described as "find and fix". It is rooted in the same mind-set as "search and destroy" and "shock and awe". These are aggressive, confident attitudes based upon belief in the superiority of technology and overwhelming resources to achieve victory. For medical care the victory is over disease.

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