Saliglasa Direct Primary Care

The Waves of Healthcare Reform: A Call for Smart Communities 

The current landscape of healthcare is undergoing significant changes driven by innovation and redesign efforts. Key players, including digital technology utilizing Artificial Intelligence (AI), are reshaping how care is delivered. Major corporations like Walmart, Boeing, and Amazon are directly contracting with health systems to manage employee health benefits, aiming to reduce costs. Additionally, patients are increasingly using diagnostic companies and wearable technologies for self-diagnosis and treatment.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine practices are gaining traction, challenging traditional medical paradigms. Social media platforms amplify patient testimonials, granting non-Medical Doctor practitioners greater authority. Part of this evolution is a response to a call for a healthcare system overhaul. Critics argue that modern medicine overlooks social determinants of health and is profit-driven rather than being patient-centered.

The outcome of these transformations remains uncertain. The variability and the quality of the various players that have entered the ever-widening healthcare delivery space will not always be easy to categorize. Gone are the days when patients’ choices for their healthcare needs was mostly among Medical Doctors (MDs). Now, with increased choices comes the responsibility of choosing.

No matter what route patients choose, identifying what works for them is the first step. Likewise, rather than holding on to the all-or-none concept about healthcare delivery, physicians and health systems should embrace patients’ choices and assist them in finding venues that work for them best.

Newer models of care delivery like direct primary care (DPC) that emphasize the provider-patient relationship over business transactions, have the potential to hold the needed space for this transformational work that is underway. With extended visit times, and commitment to personalized care, doctors in the DPC model have the opportunity to guide patients in making smart choices for their healthcare and collaborate with them in achieving personal goals.

Patient engagement is increasingly recognized as crucial for improving health care and health outcomes. Hospitals and healthcare centers are incorporating patient feedback into quality improvement efforts, appointing Chief Experience Officers, and forming patient advisory groups. 

Policy makers hold significant responsibility in shaping the future of healthcare. However, the active involvement of informed and empowered communities is essential. Patients must advocate for their needs, participate in decision-making processes, and hold policymakers accountable.

Several organizations, such as the Society for Participatory Medicine and Commonwealth Care Alliance, focus on patient advocacy and engagement, emphasizing the importance of patient involvement in healthcare transformation. 

In the era of smart health technologies, smart communities and smart patients are crucial for driving positive change in healthcare systems.

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