21st Century Healthcare Takes Aim

Exploring Novel Wellness Approaches for Chronic Disease Prevention

It's no secret that the American healthcare system is in trouble. 70% of America is overweight or obese, 1 out of 3 kids born after the year 2000 is expected to develop Type II Diabetes, and health costs per person are approaching $10,000 for direct and indirect expenses.

You see it's not just the rising healthcare premiums and copays, it's the rising tax burden to pay for diseases that smolder on for decades. Employers are also putting more and more responsibility on the individual to pay for their own healthcare.

What will 21st century need to look like to address these problems? Here's some ideas:

  • Functional: The new system will worry more about how you are functioning and the probability of developing certain diseases before they happen. Instead of just telling you whether you have a disease or not, the new system will let you know how likely you are to develop a disease if you continue down the same path
  • Lifestyle/Person-Centered: Lifestyle is more than just eating, moving, and thinking well. It's about making it culturally acceptable to breastfeed publicly, or other aspects such as improving access to fresh, organic local produce and clean meat. Public backlash will cry out against recent movements toward a genetically modified food supply.
  • Team-Based: Healthcare "teams" will take on chronic disease. Chronic disease is a nonlinear process with multiple pieces playing in to a person'a health status at any given time. Chiropractors, nurse practitioners, physician assistances and "holistic health educators" will continue to be given more responsibility in the failing healthcare environment. 
  • Integrative: Integrative medicine is not just multiple types of professionals working under the same roof. Integrative medicine is about these professionals talking to one another about patients and co-managing them appropriately.
  • Insurance Struggles: Managed care is organized around an acute care model. They force doctors to label diseases with ICD9 Codes, which then tells the insurance company what they will cover, what they will not cover, and what time frame the treatment requires. These are decisions doctors should be making, not executives with MBA's. 
  • Institutional Powers Lose Edge: Big institutions publishing guidelines and directing healthcare agendas will continue losing their power. With social media and the information age, small groups and professionals are better-equipped to respond to new research. Big institutions are always 10-20 years behind the times and 21st century's rapid and complex needs cannot afford to wait another generation for changes to take place.
  • Health Savings Accounts, Flex Spending Accounts, or Similar Models Gain Popularity: Lastly, how are we going to pay for this type of care? HSA's are a perfect solution as they allow the consumer to pay for wellness services at significant tax advantage. They also let the consumer decide which doctors they are going to visit. After a deductible is paid, it would then work just like traditional insurance - protecting the individual against serious illness and accidents - just like insurance should work. 

Do you think President Obama's healthcare is moving closer or further away from this new model? What are your ideas for solutions

Is healthcare falling flat on its face?