Most healthcare professionals have come to realize that the United States healthcare system is broken. There is much research and data to support this. A recent World Health Organization report shows that despite the US being one of the wealthiest nations in the industrialized world, we are far from being the healthiest.
How can this be you ask? Well, actually it’s pretty simple. Look around you for some of the common signs. Americans are overweight. We don’t eat healthy. We don’t exercise enough. We like our fast food, soda, and fried foods.
But that is only part of the problem. Throw in that we don’t provide access to basic preventative healthcare for many Americans. Then throw in the fact that many Americans don’t have access to healthcare except through the ER, and it’s not hard to see why our results are so unfavorable. But that only scratches the surface, and this new report outlines just how far we have fallen.
Among the most striking of the report’s findings are that, among the countries studied, the U.S. has:
The highest rate of death by violence, by a stunning margin
The highest rate of death by car accident, also dramatically so
The highest rate that a child will die before age 5
The second-highest rate of death by coronary heart disease
The second-highest rate of lung disease
The highest teen pregnancy rate
The highest rate of women dying due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth
As the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. ACA or Obamacare) continues to be enacted, we are seeing a shift that healthcare leaders have been scrambling to get ready for over the past 3 years. ACA is shifting our focus from episodic or reactionary care, to population health management.
What does this mean? Well, to begin with it shifts our systems focus from taking care of people when they are sick, to becoming a partner in keeping them healthy. This will challenge the status quo. It will force leaders to think differently. Steve Jobs would have loved this. The challenge for healthcare leaders is to be innovative and creative, much like Jobs was for Apple. He designed computers for the individual not the large company. He challenged the status quo. He thought differently.
Successful leaders in healthcare will need to completely forget about what they have learned over the past 20 years, and instead learn to innovate, create, and revolutionize the way they deliver healthcare. Are you up for the challenge?
My name is Mark Behl. My passion is leadership. I share ideas, not lectures. If you would like to share an idea with me, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope you come back for future posts.