31 Jul Is Health Care an Oxymoron of Terms?
Post written by Andy DeLao
Healthcare. According to Wikipedia healthcare is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in human beings. (Wikipedia definition) It refers to the work done in providing primary care, secondary care, tertiary care, as well as in public health.
Do a Google Image search and you get the image above. (original search)
I pause to ask a basic question:
Does the natural juxtaposition of healthcare create an oxymoron between health and care?
Dictionary.com defines healthcare as the field concerned with the maintenance or restoration of the health of the body or mind; any of the procedures or methods employed in this field. (definition)
Health is defined as the general condition of the body or mind with reference to soundness and vigor; soundness of body or mind; freedom from disease or ailment. (definition)
Care is defined as a state of mind in which one is troubled; worry, anxiety, or concern; a cause or object of worry, anxiety, concern; temporary keeping, as for the benefit of or until claimed by the owner. (definition)
Healthcare is supposed to cover the entire spectrum of people by definition. Healthcare should cover people that have a high quality of life to those that have an ailment, illness, or a diagnosis that impedes that same quality of life.
Yet in all of my travels, in all of my discussions, in all of the observations I have made in the U.S. and globally, 99.9% of healthcare is specific to the caring for a person with a diagnosis of some kind.
We have systematically designed only one half of the model of care. Not only have the industrialized nations designed only half of the model, and a model that fails, but we have shared it as a best practice, promoted it, and helped to initiate the same types of ‘healthcare’ models in other parts of the world.
We have some of the greatest minds in the world, but we are only focused on half of the problem.
If I have a symptom or an issue, I can find someone to help diagnose and fix it. I get sick, I go to the doctor, they diagnose me, they give me medicine, I get better, I go home.
Yet when I go back to my normal daily life, I do not have a model that helps to keep me from coming back for more care. I do not have a model that supports the quality of life I want on a daily basis. There are few to no resources from my medical community to educate, to discuss, or to engage with to help me wake up each morning with the same quality of life as I had the day before.
A prime example: According to 2013 data from the U.S. Census Bureau almost 271M people in the United States have medical insurance. Subtracting for those people ages 19 and younger, we have around 199.2M people that have insurance.
In 2013, an estimated 44M people received an annual exam.
On average, 1 in 5 people that have insurance, or around 20% of all eligible people, actually took advantage of their annual entitlement of a free or nearly free physical exam with a physician.
If our system was designed to care for us from high quality of life to the times in which our life is impeded, then why do not more of us take advantage of our coverage?
I believe it is because the healthcare system was designed for us to mostly see value in when we are sick, ill, or need/have a diagnosis, and seek treatment.
We do not see value in engaging with the ‘healthcare’ system when we are healthy because it is only designed to care for us when we are sick.
We designed a system that enables our communities to fail. If you get sick, we have people that will make you better. Do not worry about your choices today, because we can take care of it tomorrow. We can’t support you when you are well, but we will be here when you are sick. We don’t reimburse for nutrition consults, but we will reimburse for a feeding tube. (extreme but true)
We designed a system that generated an oxymoron between health and care, and called it healthcare.
Now lets roll up our sleeves, put those great minds together, and design a more balanced system that allows our communities to succeed in both health and care of people.