If we want good health care, we need to Stop 3 – Start 3.
It is our natural, very human tendency to blame someone when the lights go out, when we have a complication after surgery, or when our job gets downsized. We need to stop assigning blame – for two reasons. First, most bad outcomes are system issues rather than individual problems, but much more important, blaming never fixes anything. We may feel better but the problem remains unresolved.
We are all guilty of treating the obvious symptoms, the blatant signs of problems in our everyday lives. Light goes out? Change the light bulb. Have a bad medical outcome? It must be the doctor’s fault. Lose your job? Just LOOK at the CEO’s obscene bonus!
Medical errors; millions without insurance; avoidable deaths during health care; nursing shortages: these are all symptoms, not causes. Treating these symptoms will never cure the patient called healthcare. We need to stop confusing symptoms with causes.
We live in a world of sound bytes. We all want, need, and frankly expect the simple, quick and easy answer. If our wishful thinking were not bad enough, we look to the person with a fancy title – someone, anyone else – to provide the silver bullet that makes everything come out right.
Patient’s Bill of Rights. Single payer system. Universal health care. These are nice catch phrases and election year slogans but not real solutions because simple, quick answers to complex, long-standing problems do not exist.
We need to stop magical thinking.
Possibly the hardest action we must take is to change ourselves. As long as we are part of the “consensus of futility,” nothing will improve. Because we know healthcare cannot be fixed, we do not try. Because we do not try, it never gets fixed. This is a classic self-fulfilling prophecy. Only we can break this cycle. If we want better and cheaper health care, then start believing that we can have both.
To fix anything, we must treat the reasons for dysfunction. This means we must first start to identify the causes. In healthcare, WHY are millions without insurance? Treat that why. WHY are there avoidable medical errors and deaths? Make these underlying reasons go away. WHY are healthcare costs constantly rising? Figure this out, deal with the why, and healthcare costs will fall.
(If you did not do Start#1, then you believe this is all impossible and this dialogue is over.)
We need to accept that only we, the general Public, have the need and the power to fix healthcare. There is too much inertia and far too many special interests to expect the government to solve our problem. We have to start the change process ourselves. Stop3 – Start3 begins when we start talking to each other about what is really wrong with healthcare. After we agree on causes, we can then talk about what we are going to do about them.
Stop3–Start3 begins when we talk to each other, for instance, here.
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