July 11, 2010

Participatory Healthcare - Out With The "Old" And In With The "New" Perfect Patient...by Jim Bloedau of Information Advantage Group

How will the shift towards greater participation by the patient in optimizing their health control costs?

The “old” perfect patient predicated their care on someone else knowing more about their disease, someone else delivering the needed care, someone else
monitoring their level of health, and someone else paying for it (third-parties pay 88% of all medical bills; it’s closer to 97% of hospital care) – “the healthcare system will take care of me” is still the mind set for most patients.

This thinking has matured to the point where people are seeking, and patient-facing companies are eager to provide, medical treatment and products for what really are more appropriately labeled “normal life conditions”, according to a recently published Brandeis University study. The report highlights how “medicalized” conditions, like menopause, male balding, body image problems and a host of other conditions are costing more than what is spent on true medical disorders like cancer, heart disease or public health. This rush to prescribe costly pills, therapy or intense medical monitoring was estimated to amount to $77.1 billion in 2005, or almost 4% of the nation’s healthcare expenditures.

The “new” perfect patient puts themselves at “the center of their own care” and aggressively takes responsibility for and actively participates in it. This model entails a shift from merely being a passive patient to an activated consumer/patient of healthcare and this model is what we need to control costs and get better care to more people.

If we could get every patient to behave like this, what would we do with the money saved? What fixed and mobile tech could we buy for the consumer/patient to monitor their normal life conditions and healthy living practices? How does the family caregiver fit in as a buyer of tech for the chronically ill? What will be the best practices of traditional medicine that will sustain the inevitable move to greater use of tech and participation by the consumer/patient in their care?

Image Credit: Larissa

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