If we break these 4 myths, we’ll cure the healthcare

the 4 myths of healthcare
Do you happen to know anyone in healthcare who’s happy?

Doctors are unhappy because they are always blamed for everything.

Laboratory experts and nurses are unhappy because their work isn’t enough respected.

Patients are unhappy because the quality of their treatment is bad (to say the least).

It’s no wonder really. While medicine strives to prove everything through rigorous and precise studies, healthcare system is based on myths which no one can scientifically prove or explain.

From all the myths, the following four stand out the most. If you work in healthcare, then it’s very likely you’ve experienced their influence yourself.

If we manage to tear down these four myths, I guarantee we’re well on our way to cure healthcare.

So, let’s roll…

MYTH 1: DATA SECURITY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN PATIENT SECURITY

Let’s not fool ourselves, data security is extremely important.

We need to do our best to prevent our medical data ending in the hands of medical identity thief. Medical identity thief is a hacker that steals and then sells health data to addicts and patients.

Addicts and patients use the stolen data to get free drugs and treatments.

But the way in which the term “data security” is being used in healthcare is something much more than that, it’s a real MYTH. It’s given for hospitals and patients that the most secure place to store all of their data are hospital servers.
If by any chance patients want to have their OWN DATA  in their possession, it’s best for them to print them on paper or palm leaves.

 

patient health data written on palm leaves

 

It’s not a joke, term “data security” is mostly used for these thesis. Thesis like this one draw questions…

Is health data really secure on hospital servers in their basements? Is it really that big of a risk to have our health data as digital data?

For those in whom’s favor the current system works, they avoid questions like these. Nevertheless, instead of them, I’ll try to answer these questions.

By which logical principles can an IT service of a hospital take better care about data security than a company specialized in working with data centers? That’s same as having family doctors performing brain surgeries instead of neurosurgeons.

How is it possible that we can’t protect patient personal health data when we already succeeded in protecting our financial data? Well, nowadays most of our purchases are done over internet.

Maybe glucose level in our blood is more interesting to hacker than our money.

MYTH 2: PATIENTS ARE PATIENTS, AND DOCTORS ARE DOCTORS

Do you agree with the title above?

I agree as well. Sounds more than logical, in an ideal world it would look like this:

  1. Every man has its own guardian angel (a doctor) that takes care about his health.
  2. Doctor does all he possibly can to preserve his health, based on his GIS (all parameters that influence health of a man, from genetic predispositions to his environment).
  3. If by any case he develops a disease, he will get his diagnosis swiftly.
  4. After the diagnosis, he will receive the appropriate treatment by the latest industry standards.
  5. 5. He (the patient) can completely dedicate himself to his work and family, and fully leave the caring about his health to his doctors.

Unfortunately, there’s just one problem. We don’t, and we never will live in an ideal world. In our world, the most organized doctor has a minimum of 10 patients each day.

Sometimes, a patient with severe symptoms will wait for weeks to get an appointment with his doctor. In most cases, between appointments doctor and his patient will have no communication whatsoever.

With reality like this, can we really comfortably say to a patient: “Leave this to me, don’t search for anything about this on the internet”? I think there is a much better way to use the patients desire to get well.

MYTH 3: THE MORE, THE BETTER

Regardless of the fact that this myth is directly related to the previous one, this MYTH definitely deserves a section of its own. A large number of healthcare institutions puts the quantity of work done as its main goal. The more MONEY, patients, surgeries, tests performed, the better.

As soon as they finish their education, “scientists” and doctors take their place on the “assembly line”, and they don’t have time to question the system they’re entering. Once they do realize it, exiting the system is hard.

Their success and earnings are primarily measured by the quantity of work they’ve done, and that should never be the case. This kind of a setup is a jeopardy, especially for those who should be the most protected ones:

  • Doctors are forced to take responsibility for a large number of patients, and because of that, they are risking the possible outcomes, as well as their personal professional reputation.
  • Patients pay the same amount of money for a surgery that saves their lives, as for a surgery that kills them, due to a medical error.
  • Laboratory experts spend almost a half of their time on performing tests which have no positive influence on the treatment outcome.

A comprehensive report published by the American Institute for medicine showed that 1/3 of the entire US healthcare budget was thrown away, as it was an unnecessary expense. In the diagram below you can see that the largest portion of those expenses was a direct consequence of the “the more, the better” myth.

unnecessary expenses in healthcare

In the rest of the world the situation is similarly bad, and it will stay like that as long as we measure success by quantity. From the moment when outcomes and quality become the most important factors for calculating the cost of treatments, we will see a better future.

MYTH 4: HEALTHCARE MUST BE COMPLICATED

I think you’ll agree with me on this one. Even though you take pride in being good in something most people consider as complicated, sometimes that can be a two-edged sword. In this case, it’s a sword with hundreds of edges .

Ok, so the human organism is complicated, no one can deny that. But, is that a reason to make everything related to healthcare extremely complicated as well?

I’m sure it’s not.

These are just two examples, and the list goes on and on. It’s actually so long that it complicates the lives for everyone involved in the healthcare system.

If you try to do something to eliminate those unnecessary complexities, you’ll get the same ol’ answer over and over again: “That is impossible, healthcare is complicated”.

In whose interests is this, I wonder?

FROM WHERE DO WE START?

The most difficult thing of it all is the fact that it’s impossible to tear-down these myths one at a time. They are all in direct connection, and we don’t have the luxury to focus only on one of them.

3strelice– We cannot fix the quality of medical services if our main parameter of success is “quantity”.

3strelice– We cannot ensure enough free time for the doctors if patients don’t involve themselves more in care for their own health.

3strelice– We cannot have actively involved patients if their medical data is somewhere on the palm leaves.

3strelice– We cannot achieve any of this if we don’t simplify the processes and the way we communicate with each other.

It sounds like a tough job to do, and indeed it is. These myths we mentioned have already been spreading their roots in healthcare for a long time, and it’s very hard to convince people to stop believing in them.

What is our other option?

The other option is to keep pretending that we believe in the myths, and the situation will remain as it is. Doctors and patients will continue to sue each other in the courts of law, and corporate leaders will happily observe as their stocks go up.