“WHAT IF OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM KEPT US HEALTHY?”

SMALLER PICAfter seeing the title of this post on a Ted Talk given by Rebecca Onie I knew I had to borrow it. It suggests a hypothesis most of us already assume is the goal.

BUT IS IT?

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Does our healthcare system attempt to keep us healthy? To answer this question, we must define the parameters of what HEALTHY is. To keep things simple, could we agree that HEALTHY may be defined as, “a qualitative efficient balance between physical, mental, emotional function resulting in the ability and/or desire to pursue a chosen path (or paths) in life.”

If we accept this definition, how has the healthcare system structured itself to help the individual achieve this balance? We have pediatricians and family medical physicians who perform exams and provide pharmaceutical medications to address acute bacterial and viral diseases or chronic diseases (blood pressure, diabetes, etc…) Although discovering abnormalities and combating disease plays a role in doctoring, are these the biggest and most important roles needed to help patients achieve and maintain GOOD HEALTH? Our system focuses more on DISEASE CARE than it does HEALTH CARE. It focuses on UNDOING or COMBATING more than SUPPORTING and STRENGTHENING.

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cartoon-feel-well-doctor-meditate-exercise-processed-foods-organic-fruit-veg-nature-worry-tv-controlWhat if our doctors began offering prescriptions based on HEALTH NEEDS rather than DISEASE NEEDS (as their primary responsibility?) Since we agree that HEALTH is a qualitative balance between physical, mental and emotional function, shouldn’t a large component of the prescription be based on the deficiencies in these areas? Wouldn’t this include (1) dietary needs, (2) physical fitness needs, (3) emotional needs, social interaction needs, (4) personal time needs, etc…?  Shouldn’t follow up visits be scheduled to determine whether these deficiencies have been corrected? If they had, shouldn’t we expect the end result to be a stronger healthier body with increased functional capability?  Is it possible, if health was addressed PRIMARILY from this perspective, DISEASE would become a smaller less significant role in HEALTH CARE? After all, if we provide the body its ESSENTIAL NEEDS, shouldn’t we expect a NATURAL STATE of GOOD HEALTH to follow? Isn’t it likely this approach to HEALTH CARE would replace much of the DISEASE CARE our current system functions under?

Now, rather than say the hypothesis I put forth is based on fantasy land because doctors and drug manufacturers will not permit such a paradigm shift, I counter with,

it’s not up to them.”

We pay for their services and their products. We have the right to discuss with our physicians the care we choose to receive and the products we choose to take to MAINTAIN HEALTH rather than simply COMBATING DISEASE. If they are unable or unwilling to provide this care, we have the right to move on to the next physician who is willing. We must realize, WE ARE THE EMPLOYERS!

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This means we can no longer accept the false presumption we are weak, feeble individuals following a structured system too powerful to change. But, in order to do so, we must be willing to accept greater responsibility for our OWN HEALTH. By sharing the responsibility with our doctors, a stronger professional relationship will create HEALTHIER RESULTS. This becomes another step in correcting the “damaged” healthcare system improving outcomes for both patient and doctor.

QUESTION: WHAT IF OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM KEPT US HEALTHY?

ANSWER: We would avoid unnecessary human suffering, reduce unnecessary financial hardship and enhance quality living while discovering new opportunities for personal growth and development.

ALL THIS BY SIMPLY CHANGING OUR FOCUS FROM DISEASE CARE TO HEALTH CARE IN OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM!

SMALLER

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69 comments

  1. Couldn’t agree more. The fact that I employ my physician is what led me to “fire” the one I had and find one I could work with. And, at least to date, he is working with me on my health – we have those other things (diabetes, blood pressure) where they need to be so now we are actually focusing on “quality of life”. Kinda different. Kinda nice.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. You are proof that this idea is based on FUNDAMENTAL REALITY and can be achieved by anyone willing to become part of the solution to better quality health and healthcare. You have shared many difficulties, yet are still willing to commit meaningful effort to attaining a better quality of health and life. For the average individual who is simply unaware of this option (solution,) the task should be simpler, yet the results, just as meaningful.

      Thank you for sharing your story. Others will gain greater confidence (from your story) to pursue a similar course to achieving better health.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The hardest part was accepting that I actually had a voice AND THE RIGHT to use it. The choice to live the best life possible is in my hands, whether I see it or not, whether I WANT to see it or not…

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Well said!! People need to read your statement! So many people feel the uncertainty with their right to use their voices. Silence, however, ONLY benefits the doctors and the healthcare system; NEVER the patient.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. Good post.

    The way things are gong now, I ask will we have a healthcare system after the announcements from Humana, UnitedHealthcare, and Aetna. There are 7 states
    that will not have any healthcare options on the next enrollment period and several
    states that will only have one option.

    Sorry, for going off subject.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You’re not off subject. Our current structure has so many weaknesses we are witnessing dramatic changes. If consumers think this won’t trickle down to the quality of services provided, they’re likely wrong. This is why I believe the timing of this post is beneficial. While the system undergoes it’s “structural repairs,” the consumer/patient can begin undergoing his or her own personal remodeling to determine how the SYSTEM can FOCUS and address their individual HEALTH NEEDS (as opposed to simply their DISEASE NEEDS) in the future. Those who choose to remain passive recipients of the SYSTEM will continue to miss out on achieving better health and quality living.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Excellent post. I have found doctors competence in this area to vary immensely – good ones are hard to find though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If we don’t demand doctors of quality, they will continue to offer the level and quality of care they do today. What incentive do they have to improve their knowledge and their skills to address patient needs? Unless we (politely and respectfully) insist on better more meaningful care, “good ones” will remain hard to find! Patients MUST voice their concerns if the level of care is sub par.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Excellent post, Jonathan! Treating symptoms vs. preventing symptoms…

    Real focus on health would prevent a lot of symptoms, I think.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. One of my goals is to get people to recognize DIAGNOSES (in most cases) as nothing more than SYMPTOMS. It will make it easier to relate to the current reality that chronic “diseases” (SYMPTOMS) are REQUIRED for our medical doctors to have work. I am suggesting an alternate paradigm for our doctors and our patients. If our doctors taught their patients THEIR responsibility in maintaining THEIR own health, doctors would have more satisfying jobs and their patients would attain better health with fewer chronic “diseases” (SYMPTOMS). A win-win scenario for patient and doctor!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Very interesting ideas! I think feeling that we are in charge of our health and finding someone to partner with us in that is a new thing and something to think about. Great post!

    Like

    1. Sorry for the delay in response. Several of your comments wound up in my spam folder.

      I agree with you that partnering with a provider (or multiple providers of various disciplines) is a new concept for most people. If we are unsatisfied with our current healthcare system, “NEW” ideas are critical for change to occur. Hopefully, this suggestion gains popularity from both patients and doctors to help achieve better outcomes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the informative post, Doctor Jonathan. I also agree that proactive and collaborative health care is relatively new, although I’d add that it is new in the U.S. Many other countries align with elders, healers, herbalists, acupuncturists, etc for optimal care. Thanks for promoting wellness!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The U.S. likes to consider itself “leader of the pack.” As you write, many other countries offer health care options more suitable to provide HEALTH care as opposed to simply DISEASE CARE. In addition, they use bioavailable and environmentally friendly approaches that work WITH the body to restore health rather than INTERFERE with the normal processes of the body. Hopefully one day egos will be sidelined in favor of methods that align with patients needs rather than imposing pharmaceuticals as the only “real” health option.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. I think the idea of accepting responsibility that you note here is fundamental – and something so many people just can’t seem to grasp.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry for the delayed reply. Your comment made its way to my spam folder.
      I agree with your assessment. The only thing I question is whether people “can’t grasp” this fundamental idea or unwilling to ACCEPT this fundamental idea? It seems people are more comfortable pointing the “finger of blame” outward rather than inward.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A lot of my posts have been going to Spam (and I just cleared mine out and found a bunch).

        Liked by 1 person

  7. This happens to be one of my favorite topics. As an acupuncturist I truly believe in holistic care. It is the fee for service model that makes it easier to treat the disease rather than address the whole person. Plus, everything is so specialized! But, I do find health care providers more and more holistically minded now compared to in the past.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Absolutely. The chronic care model has been unsuccessful for so long, even allopaths are seeking alternative approaches involving greater WHOLE PERSON evaluation to diagnose and treat. I agree we are beginning to approach patients from a HEALTH MODEL rather than a DISEASE MODEL.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post. I changed to a doctor who listens and spends TIME with me when I visit! That said, I do recognized doctors are pressed for time. Wouldn’t it be nice to find a medical practice that employed a team, one with a nutritionist and/or exercise professional to share time and care with each patient?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. In the movie, “Field of Dreams,” there was a recurring whisper that only Kevin Costner could hear. It stated, “if you BUILD it, they will COME!”

      I am trying to duplicate this whisper by sharing my ideas, experiences and knowledge with EVERYONE willing to listen. I am trying to “BUILD” a foundation to attract people to “COME” and witness new opportunities. In time, I believe these messages will resonate and help people discover greater self confidence and the willingness to take back CONTROL of their health and lives.

      Just like Henry Fonda in “12 Angry Men,” it will take patience and energy to convince people to see a NEW “TRUTH” from a new perspective.

      I retired from my private full time practice two years ago when I was 55 years old with this mission in mind. I work more hours now than I did in practice. I LOVE IT! The compensation I now seek comes in the form of stories from people who have thanked me for helping them learn how to transform their unhealthy and unhappy lives into vibrant lifestyles full of PASSION and PURPOSE.

      Isn’t this really what life’s all about? Isn’t it our moral obligation to offer whatever skills we possess to help our fellow man, woman and child achieve a better life? Don’t we ALL benefit from this PURPOSE?

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Regret is scarier than change, for sure, but change means we have to DO something, and regrettably many of us are more about letting the systems that be do to us whatever they see fit than changing how we respond to those systems. We either don’t know how or don’t feel we have the resources to design our own path to better health, which is why I find your site encouraging. You’re all the time teaching, teaching, teaching and challenging us with to DO something with the info you send our way. Bravo!

    I am concerned, deeply concerned about the demise of these big insurance providers and their choice to move away from health insurance offerings. I truly believe in my heart that our government wants to run every facet of our lives, most especially our ability to live and die, and experience a healthy, vital existence between those two states of being. If they will be our only teacher, we are all bound to fail.

    Remember this: The rich will always have good health care!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. People, ultimately, can only be pushed so far before they commit to rebellious behavior. Fortunately, it is usually the last conceivable option.

      I try to teach and share ideas to help people rely less on our bureaucratic system and more on THEMSELVES. Our healthcare system should be used more heavily as ONE RESOURCE OF INFORMATION, than a center “responsible” for our individual health. People must be made more AWARE of their INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITIES and WILLING TO ACCEPT these responsibilities to remove the current dependence on the healthcare system we face today. This would result in greater self confidence, greater self control, reduced healthcare costs and a healthcare system more responsive to the individual’s needs.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Always enjoy your posts and the points you hit home.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Kathy. Just trying to stimulate my reader’s brain cells in a diplomatic manner while offering encouragement and REALISTIC ACTION STEPS for those people seeking and needing change.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Your usual theme but this is by far your best post! Your term “we employ our doctors” is spot on!
    Thanks, let’s hope this be goes viral.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Always nice to see your opinion in the comment area.

      It takes time for people to open their eyes and see that change is possible. It is typical for first reactions to view change from a position of doubt and/or fear. I try to restate a “usual theme” from slightly different perspectives to broaden the appeal and persuade the reader in search (and often need) of change.

      I hope that this approach creates a better, more meaningful relationship between patients and doctors with better outcomes for BOTH.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Another great read! I’m so happy to have found your blog 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I actually agree with your point of view. My take has always been that public systems are mastered not to run optimally for the benefit of certain stakeholders, or at least that is the case in my country, Nigeria. I think that their school of thought, which I am against is that If there is so much attention on preventive medicine and holistic health, fewer patients would walk into the clinics and hospitals for help. that would not help the pharma manufacturers who need to sell medication, or the hospital admin who are looking to the numbers pf patients to create more jobs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Change can only come about if we discuss OUR WANTS and NEEDS with our physicians and work together to establish an approach to achieving these goals. If a doctor insists on medicating a low risk symptom when the patient requests a natural solution, it’s time to find a new doctor! Doctors have the right to offer suggestions; they do not have the right to dictate mandatory treatment.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Kallmann.C · · Reply

    Very well crafted piece of article. Thank you for the perspective. I always thought that disease combat and true health care could never coexist due to consequencial monetary conflict in the entire healthcare industry. While it may be an insightful perspective, the question is are the healthcare professionals willing to forego their income tool for humanity?

    btw I have a medical blog too, you may visit it at http://medicalessential.wordpress.com

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Healthcare professionals might have to compromise some of their monetary compensation in exchange of maintaining patient numbers. As healthcare continues to evolve, (ex. Functional Medicine) solutions to chronic diseases will evolve as well. Traditional medicine will be challenged by complimentary practitioners as well as fellow allopaths.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. This was amazing and this is why I started my blog. To open people’s eyes to all of this. I am studying to be an herbalist. To help educate people of the benefits of being healthy inside and out.. Read your ingredients google them thats what i did and it was so sad at all the dangerous chemicals that is added to our foods and medicines. But because they hide it so well its perfectly legal. They start loosing money when your eyes open up and you start taking back your life planting your herbs and vegetables is the first step. You should check out my blog I think you would like.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post. We share a passion to teach and help the world see health from a perspective requiring teaching. People’s lives are so busy, they need people to share important messages to help them understand self value and self worth by improving their own quality of life.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. […] via “WHAT IF OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM KEPT US HEALTHY?” — All About Healthy Choices […]

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Couldn’t agree more. I have had so many issues dealing with the health care system that I almost want to give up. But I can’t. It is so true that we are their employers, but it is a shame that sometimes we become zombies that have to do whatever they say. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have read about your challenges and can certainly understand your sentiments. I hope you have reached a point in your recovery to avoid further circumstances where treatment options are dictated rather than recommended.

      I didn’t notice anything on your site regarding nutrition and seizures. Have you ever discussed a ketogenic style program with your doctors to encourage healthier neurological function?

      Like

  18. What an insightful look into our healthcare system. I absolutely agree that overall health requires time spent on our mental and emotional needs as well as our physical ones. I’m in the process of writing a 3 part article on just that!

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I look forward to reading your articles to gain additional perspective.

      Like

  19. i like article is good

    Liked by 1 person

  20. […] via “WHAT IF OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM KEPT US HEALTHY?” — All About Healthy Choices […]

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  21. Excellent point on changing health providers, I couldn’t agree more. Not everyone has that chance or opportunity, but if you don’t like the care you are receiving and have options, don’t be afraid to change!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Doctors are NOT pseudo-god like. They are ordinary people with faults and strengths. There are good and bad ones just like any profession. If yours is not meeting your needs, discuss it with them. If they understand and are willing to work under mutually beneficial terms, wonderful! If they aren’t, it’s probably time to go doctor shopping!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. […] via “WHAT IF OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM KEPT US HEALTHY?” — All About Healthy Choices […]

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope your readers discover a new outlook on health and life after reading this article. Thank you for sharing it.

      Like

  23. I really enjoyed your article. I am a psychology student and am always eager to learn more about the affects of having a healthy mind. I loved the cartoon you showed because so many of people’s problems are being treated with medication when it is not necessarily medication that they need. I have been practicing yoga for almost three years and I love that the practice focuses on clearing a person’s energy and letting go of the things they cannot control. I really hope that are health care system can move away from as you wrote “disease care” to more preventive/healthy living care.
    Thank you for sharing!
    Carlee/ evenmoreyou.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am part of a generation of doctors that have barely scratched the surface to understand the human potential for restoring and maintaining health through lifestyle choices. Personally, I also believe common sense plays a greater role than typically credited.

      GOOD HEALTH requires ACTIVE participation. If a person doesn’t accept this initial concept, they are destined to succumb to health imbalances (dis-ease/dysfunction.) This, in my opinion, is a major cause for the growing numbers of people suffering health complications. PILLS do NOT replace ACTIVE living. Until the world understands and is willing to accept greater responsibility for their health, new drugs will be manufactured and distributed for sale while the rate of disease and preventable death continues to grow. The only winners in this scenario are the businesses that prosper at the expense of the consumer.

      Like

  24. www.Simply-Pure.org.uk · · Reply

    Good read!

    The healthcare system needs to move away from a symptom based approach especially for chronic disease to a functional whole person approach (rooting out the root causes of disease). When that happens patients will get better, get their life back and the burden on the healthcare system will reduce.

    That would also mean happier healthcare staff, a better quality of life for all and a better healthcare system :).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are sharing my exact message with the rest of the world. I couldn’t have said it better. Nice to see this approach is being shared on BOTH sides of the “pond.” Helping people understand this REALITY is essential to address ALL IMBALANCES (disease/dysfunction) in life.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. www.Simply-Pure.org.uk · · Reply

        Agreed!

        Liked by 1 person

  25. […] via “WHAT IF OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM KEPT US HEALTHY?” — All About Healthy Choices […]

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  26. Nice Post Buddy !! like it 🙂
    thankyou

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Brilliant Article! Love your enthusiasm

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad you took the time to read the post. Thank you for the kind words.

      Like

  28. I totally agree. Even doctors don’t know what they are talking about most of the time, thinking they know you better then yourself…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In general I believe doctors intentions are GOOD. What many don’t realize is the limitations and boundaries their particular education has. An arrogance can develop as their approach to health and well being is respectfully challenged. They would be smarter to place their egos and defenses on the side. They should open their minds to NEW credible information. This would add additional TOOLS to their arsenal and allow them to help their patients restore health to THEIR bodies.

      Like

  29. Hey there, I love the article. I am currently designing a mobile health application with a holistic approach to dealing with health related issues, delivered through: Neuroscience, Sicial Science and Sport and Exercise Science (my own field). If you have the chance please come along and see if there’s anything that you would like to see 🙂

    Like

  30. I just wrote a similar post about health insurance–one of the points I attempted to make is that we are responsible for our own good health:

    https://wildernesswell.wordpress.com/2016/12/11/health-care

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Great article. If we were healthier, that would harm a huge industry. I agree, we as “employers” can influence where the industry shall develop and it should definitively be towards holistic preventive measures rather than (single-sided) treatments.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. People have more control over Big Business than they realize. All they need to do is determine for themselves what items they are willing to place in THEIR OWN MOUTHS!

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Be sure to check out all the foods that support brain health.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great to see your contributions to healthy living.

      Like

  33. […] via “WHAT IF OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM KEPT US HEALTHY?” — All About Healthy Choices […]

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  34. Great post! Prevention is better than the cure. This is why I’ve become very interested in gut health and healing from the inside out. We need to take our health into our own hands as so many doctors just want to write a prescription for everything. I told my doctor last year about the problem I had with bloating. She said there was nothing I could do about it. Thankfully I didn’t accept that. I went on natural health supplements, changed my eating habits and now I feel so much better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many traditional practitioners still don’t “get it!” Their classic training is matching a symptom to a drug. Their education doesn’t include nutrition; a VITAL COMPONENT that plays an enormous part in GOOD HEALTH. They will learn over time as doctors of all disciplines pursue a more FUNCTIONAL approach to health which address the WHOLE PERSON rather than merely their symptoms.

      Liked by 1 person

  35. Olga Janjic · · Reply

    Stay yourself healthy.

    Like

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