Is It Possible To Be Optimistically Realistic About The Future Of Healthcare?

by , Nov 15, 2013, 10:20 AM
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Currently, the tone and tenor of the conversation about healthcare in the United States can only be described as fraught, fragmented, passionate and largely negative. Clearly, many people — no matter their political persuasion — are greatly disappointed about the rollout of HealthCare.gov, and concerned about the site’s many problems, including security issues that had the potential to compromise users’ private health data.   

With the furor over the Affordable Care Act continuing unabated, it’s easy to forget that healthcare is about much more than legislation and arguments over who will be responsible for paying the nation’s ever-increasing medical bills.  nstead, quietly and with little fanfare, there have been a range of developments — some of them spawned by legislation, others culture and necessity — that, taken together, suggest we can be optimistic, but realistic, about the future of healthcare.

One important optimistic development (that has been aided by health marketers) is the rise of Virtual Counseling, a trend described in an upcoming book I co-authored.  This refers to how patients, caregivers and others are using the Web, not only to seek health information, but to provide emotional and moral support to others.  Another is the increased focus on developing health technologies — whether they are Web sites, telepresence tools, or mobile health applications — that up the empathy factor by foregrounding health’s human element.

However, while there are many reasons to be optimistic about the future of healthcare, we must be realistic about its many problems.  One of the most important is related to ensuring that we do a better job of understanding who is most willing to be more engaged in their care (both on the management and financial side) and — if necessary — providing them with tools and techniques to increase their comfort level.  

As we have seen with the rollout of Obamacare, millions of people who never had to think much about the shape and scope of their health insurance were suddenly forced to deal with the consequences of no longer having access to plans that were deemed inadequate, based on the poorly explained provisions of the law.  (Where were the brilliant health marketers who could have helped ensure Americans understood and were prepared for the law’s many potential consequences?)

So, to answer my question, is it possible to be optimistically realistic about healthcare’s future? Absolutely, but it requires being willing to have a balanced, but big picture perspective on where we’re headed. 

I recently gave a talk focusing on the need to be optimistically realistic about healthcare’s future during an event hosted by the North Carolina Triangle chapter of Health 2.0.  If you’re interested in viewing the slides I presented at the event, please click here.  


2 comments on "Is It Possible To Be Optimistically Realistic About The Future Of Healthcare?".

  1. Jeff Bander from Sticky
    commented on: November 15, 2013 at 12:56 p.m.
    Interesting. Many people who were happy with their insurance and were fully aware of the pros and cons of their benefits are now being told by the government they are too stupid to know what is good for them and what is inadequate. Just because the government says a policy is inadequate does not make it so. I find in almost funny that the you say Americans should be optimistic when everything the government runs is bankrupt. Here are just a few complete Government failures? US Post office Medicare - Gov projected cost $9B, actual $67B in 1965 Medicaid's program special hospital subsidy was added in 1987, projected cost $100M actual $11B Social Security- no choice ponzi scheme Fannie Mae War on Poverty started in 1964. $1Trillion spent Freddie Mac Cash for Clunkers Department of Energy was created in 1977 to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. Now with 16,000 employees and a $24Million budget, we are more dependent on foreign oil that ever. So America should be optimistic with this track record? Are you serious? As of today 27,000 people have signed up using the federal website.
  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited
    commented on: November 15, 2013 at 1:55 p.m.
    Jeff, if you believe all that banter then you should be one of the first people to make sure all the people who come to emergency wards can pay for their service before they get it. After all, if they can't pay for it, then we all should decide if they should get the health care that the rest of us pay for through taxes and our insurance premiums. You can help turn people away.

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