and access to care is front and center in the news. People are dying because they don’t have access to healthcare. Patients are voicing concerns they can’t afford their prescriptions and groceries. When did it become necessary to choose between purchasing prescribed medications and food? Healthcare institutions are discontinuing select services or closing all together and healthcare providers are relocating to states where they won’t be prosecuted for providing quality care. What is happening in this country? We spend more on healthcare than any country in the world, yet our health outcomes are some of the worst (Gunja, Gumas & Williams, 2023). It’s time for a change.
It's time to change the narrative from health equality to health equity.
We need to finally agree that all people across the planet have a right to receive healthcare. For years we talked about health equality,
or providing the same interventions for everyone. The truth is health equality doesn’t work. We cannot use a one size fits all approach to healthcare. What we need to focus on is the health outcome and then determine which interventions work best for the individual person so they can achieve a specific outcome and achieve an optimal level of wellness.
Too often people don’t have access to healthcare disease prevention and screening and end up being diagnosed with conditions that could have been caught early enough to be managed more effectively. People will argue that prevention and screening cost money. Yes, that’s certainly true; however, taking the time to educate someone on safe sex, diet modification, exercise, and smoking cessation costs less that treating a myocardial infarction, heart failure, COPD, lung cancer, or HIV.
It's time to bring healthcare to where the people are.
We need to do a better job at providing access to care. Healthcare organizations need to recognize and appreciate the responsibility for addressing the needs of the community it serves. That means bringing healthcare to where the people are. People need to trust that healthcare professionals and organizations want to help them. In the pandemic, trust was established within our communities by standing up clinics and offering vaccines and COVID-19 screening. We need to address access to care and that means addressing transportation to healthcare facilities and appointments. Healthcare organizations can’t do this alone; they need to work with their community governments and social services to make this happen.
Healthcare takes a multidisciplinary approach. It’s time to break down our silos and have physicians, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, mental health professionals, physical and occupational therapists, and dieticians working together to improve and optimize healthcare. All members of the healthcare team need to have a seat at the table where discussions are happening, and decisions are being made.
It’s time for health equity for all.
Not long ago, I took care of a patient with a disease that should have been prevented. They should have received screening and treatment and lived their life. Instead, their life was cut short. I grieve for this person. I grieve because our system could have done better. I am not alone; we see these cases every day. The question is are you willing to take a stand and try to make the system better? Is your healthcare organization ready to change the narrative from healthcare equality
to health equity
Gunja, M., Gumas, E., & Williams, R. (2023, January 31). U.S. Health Care from a Global Perspective, 2022: Accelerating Spending, Worsening Outcomes. Commonwealth Fund. https://doi.org/10.26099/8ejy-yc74