How Patients and Doctors Can Work Together Toward Better Healthcare in the US
Though the government is responsible for handling systemic shifts in healthcare reform, doctors and patients can contribute to the reshaping of the U.S. healthcare market for the better through their own unique roles in the system. While the government has to take the lead on making sure that everyone has access to quality care, doctors and patients can do their parts at the roots of the healthcare system as advocates for change and improved practices.
For patients, one of the most important steps they can change toward changing the playing field is simply talking with one another. While talking about finances and how much things cost has become taboo over the years in the United States, creating an open and honest discourse about the value of things helps work toward increased equity in the healthcare system. This has best been represented by the American struggle over recent years to obtain insulin at a fair cost; after much of the outraged population teamed up to protest insulin’s exorbitant price hikes, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a law limiting the monthly cost of the life-saving medication. Though it was no easy battle, patients teaming up together to make their voices heard can have a clear and important impact on the direction of modern healthcare.
And in a world dominated by social media, where people from across the world have the opportunity to speak, share their stories, and unite under a unique cause with one another, the 21st century has become the premier opportunity for patients to seize back their power in the U.S. healthcare system. Beyond open communication, requesting their own medical data and claiming ownership over these records can help patients obtain more accurate and cost-effective care in the future, and is yet another germane opportunity for patients to earn more autonomy in their treatment process.
Doctors, too, can find distinct power in teaming up with one another and organizing to create quality private practices, rather than be subject to the quotas and demands of big hospitals, earning the same or better rates while providing more patient-oriented, outcome-driven care. By teaming up and consolidating power with one another in private practice, doctors can provide an extremely high level of excellence to their patients and nurture a financially flourishing business as a result – a far cry from the poorly-run and low-quality business practices of many modern hospitals – which can be bolstered to new heights of success through data acquisition and value-based healthcare models.
At the end of the day, doctors and patients have the capabilities to begin reshifting the power dynamics of the modern healthcare system through their own hands. Though the state of healthcare may be intimidating – both in the United States and on an international scale – a further emphasis on quality, accessibility and fair pricing in tandem by patients and doctors could help push forward the post-pandemic healthcare reset the world so desperately needs, as well as open up the doors for a reinvigorated medical tourism marketplace in the United States.
By Mary Schreiber Swenson