Population health is failing miserably to define 21st-century healthcare requirements. This merely is the byproduct of the increased knowledge base, and plenty of information, liberty of individual expectations, and most of all size of the multidisciplinary progress we have made in science and technology. It’s time to accept the bitter truth of outdated population health. It has functioned reasonably well for two centuries, as it has proven to be cheap as long as the citizens follow the cookie-cutter scheme, downside leaving out the minority group and vulnerable at limbo.
The proponents of population health are seemingly reluctant to admit the prevailing needs to reform by the false presumptuousness of feasibility challenges associated with personalized healthcare. Yet, they are radically implementing value-based models and patient engagement programs that are nothing short of a hybrid of population and personalized healthcare. Such a system may indeed serve well in the short run as the transition scheme, but if the transition does not occur in a prompt fashion destined to fail in the long run.
To recapitulate, public health is a discipline of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting health for everyone. It must be implemented through a well-organized system. As important as public health’s role is and despite its prerequisite for taking a position at the center of patient and physician interaction, it doesn’t seem to be the case. Over time, it has been the mythical belief that physicians are not public health experts. On the contrary, their role is indeed fundamental to efficient public health delivery. Patients also have taken the passive part by following what the government bureaucrats enforce upon them. On those grounds, social movements have evolved, including Anti-vaccination groups. Through their bureaucratic takeover, the medical service and public health disconnect have transformed the Hippocratic personalized medicine into the rigid population health.
Today what we witness entails the clash of administrative autocracy and liberated individual mindset.
We have the wrong people leading mistaken solutions for bad reasons in the off-beam system. Neither industry data scientists nor Executives are in any position to occupy healthcare leadership. The pure science-based approach by the so-called “Leaders of the population health” will inevitably have shortfalls, therefore premature to take the individual factors out of the public health equation. A leader’s duty is not exclusive to the ownership of protocols, guidelines, or policies. Still, it is the person who builds a personal relationship with the patient. It can use the right resources available to extend the optimal service from prevention, diagnosis, and treatment to education and building a rapport within such framework- something lacking from current medical practice and one of the reasons for patient distrust and non-compliance.
Today’s healthcare lacks synergy between role and skill within its workforce. The attention of the physicians is inefficiently diverted to manage paperwork and complying with ridiculous government mandates, while those who should be doing the administrative work act as the leaders of public healthcare. The mark with this picture is the poor assignment and distribution of skills and talents.
Healthcare systems need to step out of habitual profiling and grouping determinants and factors into bundles of social elements. It needs to engage patients on their distinct determining factors of health and wellness. The specific factors would serve as the reference base for the quality of medical services rendered by the treating physician. If intended to place a patient at the center of public health, then by no means excluding the treating physician serves the system any good.
The quality of service is determined by delivering mutually acceptable medical care by an objective assessment of the physician and the patient’s subjective perception by addressing individual determinants one person at a time. Value is the derivative of the quality delivered’ hence the accurate merit-based reimbursement model. Time has come once in for all to put double standards aside and revisit the definitions of quality, value, patient engagement within the context of personalized healthcare.
“The time has come for patients to take control of their healthcare system and demand transparency on all aspects from start to finish.”
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