Health Care In a New World

Time for a change

Normally these posts don’t surround other posts, however, someone sent me an article from Harvard talking about a whole new world for health care and I wanted to share it with you and draw it out and think about it a little more.

In the current system, we go to the doctor with a problem, he tests or doesn’t.  The ultimate goal is for her/him to diagnose and treat.  The system is based on a direct “fee for service”.  The doctor bills for time, costs, tests and maybe even sales.  These bills are done on a visit-by-visit basis.  If what you need is outside the office, like nutrition and behavior, then, you’re referred to another office, where you’ll be paying a whole other set of fees for their services.

In the new system:

Physicians and patients will determine specific health goals, which can then result in bonus incentives. Practices will be rewarded for things like helping a patient lose weight and get blood sugar under control — that is, for keeping them healthy and out of the emergency room and hospital.

But how do you keep people healthier more efficiently? We will use more modern and creative tools to keep track of a patient’s status and progress from home, with tools such as health equipment that links in to the chart, and computers for virtual visits. We will hire more nursing staff to call patients and assist with monitoring from afar. We doctors will also need to be more accessible, with more phone calls or e-visits. Hiring extra staff and buying new equipment is expensive, but that is the investment we need to make in order to function in this new world.

According to Harvard Medical School, not just any doctor can decide to do this.  If they want to be a medical “home” they have to go through a certification process monitored and administered through a third party agency.  This will guarantee that the patient’s needs are being met and the patient is satisfied.

Studies show that these types of practices are working to lower costs, reduce emergency room visits, keep the patient following directions and most importantly, they even claim to reduce deaths.

Cathy Sykora

Cathy Sykora

Founder, The Health Coach Group

Cathy helps health coaches build and maintain successful businesses that improve the lives of others.

The Key is Results and Satisfaction

For years our health care system has been growing in the wrong direction.  Many of us have experienced situations where we’re treated more like cattle in a system of ticket taking and 1-minute doctor visits.  I recently showed up for a “mandatory” doctor visit, only to find out that it was a misunderstanding and I didn’t really “need” to come.  It still cost me over $200.  Health insurance is often north of $1100 a month for major medical that covers only catastrophic events.  (my case)  So, when I read this article about patient satisfaction, lower costs, fewer visits and saving lives – I get excited.

This is a place that health coaches fit into.  Where the doctor HAS to do more hand holding and hire extra staff – that’s us!  Health Coaches can do that.  We were taught to do that.  Coach and listen and improve quality of life.


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  1. Joyce Hansen

    I agree Cathy that health care needs to change. For too long we depended on a healthcare system to fix whatever is wrong without taking any responsibility for our own healthy wellbeing. I think having access to a health coach makes sense. We seem to like to have coaches for a lot of other things, why not a health coach.

  2. Tandy Elisala

    Wow, this is such a timely topic for me, Cathy. For FAR too long, we have relied on the traditional health care system to help us. However, our medical system is designed to keep us sick and treat the symptoms rather than the CAUSE. I think having a health coach is a big deal and if everyone had a health coach, I think our overall health and well-being would be much better than it is. However, if health coaches somehow negatively affected the medical community (aka – their profits), you can bet they would come up with regulation around health coaches to keep them in the money.

    Rant over – Great post!

  3. Karen Lopez

    Thanks for sharing this article and your thoughts with us, Cathy. As a health coach, we do try to keep our focus on both sides of this coin. In some ways, doctors have become entrapped in the wrappings of “health insurance” as much as the patient has become frustrated and half-neglected. I’m not suggesting that health insurance has no value but in my opinion it does seem to have distanced the patient and doctor and to drive up costs related to routine medical care.
    All of the above to say, we all need hope that there will be change in the future. Most importantly, we are blessed to be part of that change that brings hope!

  4. Lorii Abela

    Health is indeed important. I remember reading somewhere that even Sir Richard Branson said that his priority in life are “family and health.” I agree that doctors sometimes seem like they have no heart but just all about the money by doing 1 minute rush appointments. I understand as well that they are also trying to survive the system considering that they have to see more patients because their share is being cut and other than seeing patients, they still have tons of paperwork to finish. Such is life.


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