2 minute read
A Crisis in Healthcare Access
(Part 1 of a 3-part series)
Why are we in this mess? What mess?
I’m referring to the denial of the problem that US consumers face when trying to access healthcare. In case you haven’t been paying attention, we’ve been sweeping under the rug serious problems in our healthcare system. Access problems are pervasive and arguably more dangerous than in any other industry. Not only are consumers having trouble affording healthcare, physically getting to healthcare, knowing where to go for healthcare, but once they are in the system, they aren’t receiving the right care from the right provider.
Current constituencies in healthcare shuffle consumers through the turnstiles, but no one is providing them the coordinates and the GPS to get them to the next place that may or may not be right. No one is providing objective, evidence-based Informed Access.
It is true that some consumers are fortunate enough to have a positive experience interacting with the healthcare system. However, far too many have a very bad experience to the point that preventable medical errors are the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer. How can this happen with what we spend on healthcare?
US Healthcare spend per capita is the most expensive in the world. We have incredible physicians, facilities, pharmacological and medical device innovation, proactive population health management, cutting edge personalized medicine and devoted caregivers of all types. Even with this abundance of resources, we still fail to provide adequate quality and outcomes to our population. People have begun to shed light on this dilemma, but it is largely ignored and accepted as status quo by the industry and the general public. It is hard to find the right doctor; that’s just the way it is.
Uninformed Choice: What Does it Mean?
We are not talking about annoyances and inconveniences consumers routinely face. This is about the stark number of misdiagnoses, unnecessary medications, botched procedures, incorrect and irresponsible treatment plans, and furthermore, tests and surgeries that occur when you don’t get to the right physician the first time. People are being bounced around the system struggling to understand what to do and who to see. The statistics on all of these are undeniably stark and scary.
Moreover, the consumer driven healthcare movement requires individuals faced with high deductibles to have financial and decision-making responsibility for their health. Unfortunately, they face an insurmountable obstacle to obtain specific, relevant and useful information about the first and most fundamental choice they need to make - the choice of the right physician to help them.
It is a sick joke to think we have provided consumers with transparency and relevancy of information to make the right choices. It is equally incomprehensible that we put up with it.
SEE PART 2 OF THIS SERIES: When Denial of the Problem Turns Deadly (Part 2: The Impact)
What You Can Do About The Access Problem Now
For more information, download our Solving Healthcare's Black Box Referral Problem eBook.
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