Health Care in the United States has been, and continues to be, front and center as a topic of discussion and debate. This topic is dissected at the kitchen table of our homes as well as the halls of congress both in Lansing and Washington, DC. As you may have heard me say, “health care has two important ingredients that without these ingredients, health care does not happen….. a doctor and a patient.” We need great hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, physical therapists, home health care nurses, nursing homes, etc. but without a doctor and a patient, we do not have health care. It is my belief that active engagement of all stakeholders gives us the best opportunity to change our current culture of health. We have long been a country where we wait until someone gets sick before treating the malady. Imagine what our world would look like if we were all constantly “chasing health” so that we prevented many of the illnesses that befall us. Currently the United States spends a tremendous amount of money for the results that are achieved. This is why we still rank last among 11 industrialized countries when looking at access to care, cost of care, efficiency of getting that care, and the quality of care. Donald Berwick, in 2008 spoke of the Triple Aim, improved patient experience, improved outcomes, and decreased cost. When we reach a point where all stakeholders are “chasing health”, I believe we will concurrently be achieving the Triple Aim. Recently, I was asked by a prominent community member, “where are the doctors in our battle with obesity?” Thus began a program in which physicians will be actively involved with this issue…not just in the doctors office where patients expect to hear about their weight. Imagine the impact if physicians walked at the Civic Center with patients every Friday evening. Discussions in the walk are centered around health and how we move forward as communities. More to come in Chasing Health as we collectively make changes to how we live our lives and become a beacon for others to model.
Peter Sneed MD
President Northern Michigan Health Network
Board Member – Northern Physicians Organization