In a new post on the thehealthcareblog.com author John Haughom, MD states “There is an urgent need for clinicians to step up, lead the debate and design a new future for health care. ” I agree with his analysis that, “health problems related to lifestyle, such as obesity, smoking, substance abuse and diabetes will not be solved by more hospitals but rather through access to primary care physicians, innovations in public health, and lessons from the emerging discipline of behavioral modification.”
In particular I like the emphasis on “the emerging discipline of behavior modification”. However, this behavior modification must be applied not only to patients, but to doctors as well in order for a true revolution in health care to begin to blossom. In this day and age doctors still often see themselves as only knowing how to treat disease, and often feel there is not much they can do to help the patient improve their health unless they are already sick.
This state of affairs comes back to the financial incentive model of medical care. Will it be possible to create a model of health care in which doctors can profit from assisting “healthy” people to become healthier.
Just as every variable also has a derivative (i.e. rate of change), the same is so with our health. The individual health index and health derivative should be calculated and we should determine if we are healthy and getting healthier or healthy and getting sicker. It is important to know our health derivative before the doctor actually detects a treatable sickness if at all possible. We need a truly revolutionary model for the future of health care that places the physician in forefront of improving health, while of course retaining their position at the forefront of treating disease. But will doctors be able to morph into this new role? What do you think?