Recent medical discoveries and technological advances have resulted in faster diagnosis, more precise treatment, and improved information sharing. That said, many areas of modern healthcare still need extensive changes because too many patients continue to suffer losses related to time, money and health. Consider the following for healthcare reforms that need to happen for better health in the future.
Doctors often chastise patients for checking the internet for information about health conditions, symptoms, and treatment options. Yet too many doctors currently fail to provide their patients with up-to-date, accurate information. Patients with chronic and rare conditions, for example, often deal with doctors who withhold information and downplay possible symptoms and treatment side effects. These patients usually only find the information they need about these areas, lifestyle changes, and possible long-term outcomes from other patients through social media and support groups. For modern healthcare to work, reforms need to focus on the creation and mandatory usage of a single online medical library that contains up-to-date diagnosis and treatment information, reports about past and current research studies, and patient testimonials.
Information accuracy problems are merely one area of overall poor professional support. Some doctors believe they should withhold information to reduce patient worry about problems that might never occur. Some doctors also try to tie less common symptoms to non-diagnosed mental health issues. These healthcare professionals fail to recognize that they are often harming patients with poor support. Reforms need to focus on requiring that all doctors receive extensive training in compassionate care communication that looks at how doctors increase stress and anxiety with certain words and actions. Reforms should also require that any doctor who wants to speak about mental health must have a degree in behavioral science or risk harsh penalties. Healthcare education is already reforming in this area, Doctor Cummings institute trains doctors to recognize behavior patterns as part of their ongoing health education.
Lastly, a lot of healthcare systems and non-profit organizations currently withhold critical medical information from patients unless those patients pay a fee. Reforms need to focus on ending this practice so that important data is made available to everyone no matter their financial situation. For modern healthcare to work, insurance companies must also provide patients total access to the doctors that they need no matter where those specialists are located within a country’s borders. The words “in-network” and “out-of-network” need to be removed from the medical lexicon entirely.
The modern healthcare industry benefits patients in so many astounding ways, but it also does an equal amount of harm. Although it can never be perfect, the above reforms can make it better.
Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter, @eileenoshanassy. For more on healthcare reform and education, check out Doctor Cummings Institute.
The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.