Stop Complaining about Healthcare Problems; Let’s Do Something about It
We physicians know what we need and what we want in our professional life. There are some areas and solutions that we disagree to and can’t help complaining.
The state of healthcare is not how it ideally should have been, and there are many areas of complaints.
But does complaining help achieve anything?
You may think complaining is just venting off giving you an opportunity to let out some steam. But it has much worse effects on everyone and can be soul draining for anyone who listens to it.
We have some serious problems concerning healthcare but complaining isn’t going to help. We have to be a part of the solution by disassociating us from the problem and stop complaining.
Today we will discuss the main problems plaguing healthcare and how can we do something about it other than just complaining about it!
The problem of Technology in Healthcare
We have been complaining of the disruption that technological mandates have brought. Technology can leverage our practice only if used in the right way.
But the major technologies like EMR/EHR have met with many criticisms from physicians some of which turns out to be true. A study called Benefits and Drawbacks of Electronic Health Record Systems highlighted some of the drawbacks of EMRs.
It found that physicians and medical staff encountered interruption in their workflow due to introduction of EMR which resulted in 20% productivity loss in the first month. It directly converted to loss of revenue and the impacted the ability of physicians to see more patients.
The increased use and exchange of digital patient records have also brought in the concern of privacy and data breaches. A hospital in Arizona terminated the employees responsible for unauthorized use of data related to patient records.
True, EMR has its problems; but it is just medical records and depends on how we use them.
Also, instead of complaining we need to weigh the contributions of EMR like positive clinical outcomes, better collaboration, enhanced data collection and so on. Also, policy makers are trying to put in new legislation to improve data security.
It’s true healthcare technology is not at the same levels as banking or e-commerce, but surely it can be perfected with time.
Physician Burnout affects Patient Care Quality
Every physician knows how tough his job is- and the resulting burnout it can cause!
There is actually a physician burnout syndrome which was present in 88% physicians in a survey.
Long hours of work, the burden of student loans, administrative pressure, compliance issues and other factors leave physicians depersonalized, exhausted and with decreased efficiency.
It can feel natural to vent about burnout but it will keep hurting if you don’t do anything about it! You cannot easily change the external factors responsible for burnout, so you can change your nature of practice.
Some models like the concierge medicine helps reduce the patient load and can reduce burnout. You have to begin somewhere and slowly we can expect the external factors to change.
Unless we do that we won’t be healthy ourselves and won’t be able to make our patients healthy!
Obamacare and its Effects
The Affordable Care Act didn’t turn out to be beneficial for the independent physicians. Also, the money that is going to the healthcare system is not producing desired quality.
USA is ranked 37th globally in healthcare services even though it spends 17.1% of its GDP on it!
We physicians know that healthcare is not just about mandating and expanding coverage. You cannot improve healthcare quality by spending increased amounts of money or by raising tax.
We cannot depend on Non-Medical People for Intervention
Politicians and other non-medical people had always made it worse for healthcare with their intervention. Recently the Congress has proposed to withdraw the Individual Mandate of Obamacare without considering the effects on the already unreliable system.
Now the overall Obamacare exists without the Individual Mandate which penalized people for not having coverage. It would now increase the cost of existing insurance policies affecting the access to healthcare.
Should we just keep complaining?
Like we have already said- there is no use in soul draining!
We need to understand that healthcare consists of multiple aspects like quality of care, management, information management, patients, providers, expenses, interdisciplinary interaction and influenced by social perceptions and socioeconomic conditions.
Unless we are able to create a balance, we won’t have any harmony and only keep complaining!
So what can be done?
We can make things uncomplicated with the right solution. It won’t work like magic but we can begin somewhere-
· We should start by developing an open and free market with healthy competition.
· Patients should be able to make informed decision based on awareness generated by healthcare services and governments
· Healthcare should be available to everyone at affordable cost free from political, economic and business mandates
The need of Personalized Healthcare
Practices like the population based model tend to overlook the personal needs of the patient. The model is aimed at population with lesser awareness and education. But in an age of internet and information patients have become more knowledgeable.
With that the need to incorporate personalization in healthcare is felt strongly even in population based models. Personalization enables patients to get what they need and physicians to follow what they want to instead of going by the established norms.
Staying healthy is an individual right and that makes it an individual choice to stay healthy. We can solve many of our performance and efficiency problems just by bringing in personalized healthcare.