Correlation Between Doctors Reward Points and Your Health

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This blog is another opportunity to feel grateful and thank you dear Universe: You continue to bless me with recovery and overall health.  

Wouldn’t it be awesome if I visited my doctor even otherwise on a friendly note instead only when ill? Indeed, if we had effective policies that might save money for the patients, improve their health condition and build an environment where the doctors prescribe solutions to prevent diseases, improve and not only manage health?

One evening in 2016, I went out for a walk and my life changed irrevocably. In today’s scenario, doctors are typically paid to treat health problems and not to prevent them and I was no different. In my case, it essentially meant managing and living with a rare disease called Isaacs’ Syndrome (a neuromuscular condition stemming from muscle hyperactivity) accompanied by a couple of chronic ailments like Membranous Glomerulonephritis (a progressive kidney disease) apart from Lyme disease (a bacterial illness transmitted by ticks) and Glaucoma (which damages the optic nerve).

It was during an initial hospital visit when I was countlessly visited by a team of doctors prescribing clinical investigations, medicines, treatments, etc. My father closely observed it all and sarcastically recalled the days when there was one family doctor, called Vaidya (a term used for a senior practitioner of medicines who was trained to take care of all their medical needs and was not only aware of their health issues but also had familiarity with their family history) who gave medicines if required else the common infections such as colds and coughs were accepted as a part of life and were dealt through herbal remedies. Most of the tailoring was done by such practitioners based on their skill sets, intuition, and experience.

Even in ancient Chinese Health, the Practitioners were paid to keep their patients healthy by restoring harmony through traditional remedies. It was their basis to prevent and maintain health. Many countries like the US and UK have started to redesign and explore a performance-based incentive model for healthcare practitioners to actively participate and try to prevent the appearance of the disease in the first place. The process encourages the entire system to sit at the same side of the table as a patient and care for the Healthy than only for the Sick.

Where do patients like me stand who are looking to trust the medical system?

The healthcare system has to stop throwing incentives and reimburse practitioners for mixing them with patients’ well-being. Time and again I experienced that my doctors were tempted to travel the road that led to high-cost treatments instead of suggesting a holistic approach towards healing and left me with unanswered questions as only the prescribed Western medicines were not enough for a complete cure. Visiting doctors with the wish for a cure, waiting in long queues to meet them, and being burdened under the pressure of pills due to the lack of a one-stop destination that could suggest a process and executes solutions to complete mental, physical, and physiological well-being. I and my family faced countless challenges, and many sleepless nights running around gathering as much information and finding the right medical care as our experience was quite confusing because of its uniqueness.

For many such reasons, it was scary when my doctors addressed me as ‘rare’.

As it turned out, my experience wasn’t an isolated case as over the course of 8 long years, I had the chance to exchange dozens of conversations with other patients and their families who suffer from different rare ailments and each problem was unique in their perspective. Rare and Chronic conditions are showing up more often than ever and the cost of treatment and hospital assistance is rising in tandem. A family’s financial health is the most affected aspect when any of the members gets diagnosed with a rare or chronic disease.

The term, Concierge medicine is a promising innovation in this field that strengthens doctor-patient relationships and reduces healthcare costs. It reminds me of my Investment Banking days: – where with each passing day clients had better access to information, demanded transparency, and were intolerant of non-value-for-money experiences. Therefore, the innovative minds came up with a simple economic principle that encouraged a fixed fee, performance-based model to cut down on unfair means of excessive churning of a client’s financial portfolio to create an extra buck. A similar model could be implemented in the Healthcare space.

With innovative measures a lot could go better:

  • Medical Specialists would actively participate in their patient’s health as improved health quality would be linked to financial benefits.
  • Treatments could get far more effective by practitioners adopting a holistic health approach toward healing.
  • A stop to unnecessary clinical tests.
  • New payment systems could be introduced.

The crux: The rewards for doctors might not only be financial but would surely call for a happier health quotient and experience for the patients.

The idea of the blog is not to doubt the intentions of doctors but instead, to question the economics of this industry which is generating more money when patients are sicker. Though it is very difficult to make this cultural shift overnight however even moving slowly in this direction could change the health system from a disease-cured to a disease-prevented attitude, financial trust, and overall experience in our system. Today, due to technological advancements we would soon land on Mars and therefore with little effort it wouldn’t be difficult to bring about this change for the longer and healthier life of our people.

DISCLAIMER

The views expressed above in this article are the author’s own and do not represent any kind of medical advice.

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