Who Has the Solutions?
The answers to our healthcare problems lie in the power of business. Power is a mysterious value; it can be equally positive or negative. Power linked to bad character fuels greed, corruption and exploitation. When channeled properly, it can transform lives and communities. The same power that can light a city can also destroy it.
Currently, President Obama takes many of the hits for the current healthcare crisis and rightfully so, since his policies have put us in the current position we’re in. However, it does not matter which side of the issue you are on; give him credit for the fact that he took action when nobody else would. Now, we must discover the right pathways to make this successful for all of society.
The first step would be to force those who are making the laws to participate in the same system. When government officials don’t operate under the same systems that they themselves create, there is little chance of creating an equitable and functional outcome.
Government has a long history of fumbling business, but it can also be good for business. Unfortunately, often bureaucracy and conflicting agendas keep government from being effective and efficient. The power of business is a profit philosophy. In other words, a business can’t remain a business unless its products and processes create a profit. Profit is one of the most misunderstood words in our dictionary, but if households, communities and governments operated like a business with this profit philosophy, most of our economic issues would be resolved.
Making It All About the Patient
The second issue with the current healthcare system is that the patient is no longer the customer. The relationship exists between the hospital system and the insurance companies. This is a bad formula. The physician and the patient are no longer in direct relationship for the benefit of the client: the patient. Instead, the client is the insurance company and the provider is the medical delivery system, which is unfortunate.
Incentivize the System
The third issue, which all parties are trying to address, is to provide bigger incentives to individuals who practice prevention and wellness. If your home has an alarm system or hurricane windows and doors, you will get a discount on your homeowners insurance. There are good student discounts and rebates for driving accident-free. Why don’t we have a system that awards behaviors that lead to better health?
We know our bloodwork, when accurately reviewed, can provide almost perfect insight into what’s going on in the body. So why not make technology available to create a simple method for checking and reviewing it? For example, we have created technology to help the diabetic check and monitor insulin levels, so why can’t we apply similar technology into prevention practices so the individual can monitor themselves? Just like stepping on a scale to check your weight, the day is coming when individuals will be able to monitor their own health through an at-home device and a web-based tool for education.
Individualized Best Practices
The keyword to everything is balance. The body is all about balance and it is the greatest synchronized operating system ever created. In order to sustain that proper balance, one must have the knowledge and methods to maintain it properly.
Currently, healthcare is shifting its focus from just treating the sick, which is vital, to maintaining health. We are seeing hospital systems beginning to speak about wellness and moving toward creating a better knowledge-based system. Somehow, greater penalties for poor health practices have to be implemented. Otherwise, we are just rewarding bad behavior, and those of us who focus on wellness continue to pay for those who don’t.
So who has the answers? I’ve said it before: entrepreneurs. The government needs to celebrate “good business” and the best way to do that is to step aside. The entrepreneurial spirit is all about problem solving, servant leadership and it understands the power of profit to do good. It is all about cooperation and collaboration toward a common goal. So put the customer back in control. Every other business is driven by the customer/client relationship – why should healthcare be any different?
Jeff Piersall is co-founder and CEO of SCB Marketing, which publishes i4 Business and SpaceCoast Business magazines. Contact him at (321) 537-4941 or firstname.lastname@example.org