The only way to deliver optimal healthcare to every American is to rebuild the system around consumers as the leaders of their healthcare teams; not just as partners. This means restructuring health education, training, payments, medical information, tools, and resources to support informed consumer decision-making, care coordination, and care management from adulthood through death.
Much of this is already going on. Consumers have been voting with their money for over a decade by purchasing more and more over-the-counter medications and products, implementing new preventative technology tools, and purchasing higher deductible insurance plans, and more.
We can change the entire trajectory of healthcare spending and quality with a new model that recognizes consumers as the master of their own bodies and health and keeps them accountable for their life choices. Health information management, prevention, early detection, treatment plans, follow-up, care coordination, compliance, and personal well-being must all be supported through new tools. Yes, medical professionals and the healthcare industry must compete in a free market to provide the resources, tools, training, treatments, technology, and support services that will be needed.
The reason that this new model is the only way to rebuild an optimal healthcare system is deeply rooted in the basic fact that the overwhelming majority of healthcare outcomes are based on personal choices people make about their life, every day outside of a clinical setting. The notion that doctors, hospitals, healthcare professionals, and community providers are responsible for our health must be thrown aside to usher in a new age of consumer accountability.