By Dr. Bill Hemmer
I have been in private practice for over 34 years. I’ve made my living being part of a Healthcare system that isn’t about health at all. It’s about waiting until your symptoms are bad enough that you can’t stand it anymore, so you must do something about it. But since the pandemic, new opportunities for a true Healthcare system have emerged, and I’m writing this article to introduce this new system and see if it makes sense to you.
First, the premise of this new system is that if you live a healthy lifestyle, you age gracefully and don’t need our current healthcare rescue measures unless you have an accident or injury. We have all been taught that lack of symptoms means you are healthy. Is that true?
Let’s take Type 2 Diabetes for example. Most people don’t have any symptoms of high blood sugar and only find out about their disease after a blood test. High blood pressure is another example. You only find the problem on your annual physical. Then you are told to “watch it” if it isn’t bad enough yet. In other words, wait until it gets worse so it can become medicated for life.
Does it have to be that way? Why aren’t people told how to change their diets to control their blood sugar right then and there? Why aren’t people with high blood pressure told to drink more water and eat more vegetables to increase the amount of minerals, to lower their blood pressure naturally.
The answer is easy…money. Our current healthcare model is based on people buying medications they need to stay on for life. Our current model is also designed to rescue people from a health emergency. This is where the money is. No one asks about the price of anything at the Emergency room or in the Operating room. Whatever it costs, you just want to live and we have the best healthcare system in the world for rescue care.
But why do we have to wait until we get into this situation? What if we created a true healthcare system instead of working in a sickness care system? What if you could engage in learning how to get and stay healthy so you don’t need to be rescued? This is my dream for the future of healthcare.
Here is how it can work. People who have a question about something health-related goes to a website to learn more. Then, a Certified Health Coach, which is monitoring that website, reaches out to that person to see if they have any further questions. This Health Coach has you answer a few questions to assess how severe your issue is and how ready you are to do something about the problem.
Then based on the information gathered, the Health Coach provides products, services and support done for a specific period to address the problem at home. The Health Coaches advice is healthy lifestyle based and doesn’t require anything fancy. You and the Health Coach make an agreement to follow up in a week or so to see how they are doing and answer any further questions. If further expertise is needed, the Health Coach can refer you to a local healthcare provider for further work up.
Call me crazy, but I believe Health equals Wealth. Healthcare shouldn’t be about money, it should be about living your best life and passing great habits down to the next generation.