Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Hey, Healthcare Industry!

HAWMC DAy 25:  As health activists, we are on a mission to innovate healthcare. If you could change one thing in the healthcare landscape right now, what would it be?

Just one? Pretty please, can I pick at least... oh... 10? Or at least 3?

If I had to pick just one thing, it would be the lack of patient input. Not the most technical term, I know, but I'm battling flareups of both CFS and IBS, as well as a depression cycle this morning, and I'm lacking for one right now.  But more or less, patients needs and wishes - from the patients themselves, not assumed by or guessed at by bigger companies, organizations, etc - should be sought and incorporated more. Period. If they are not, how can you truly have the patients' best interests at heart? And after all, the healthcare industry should be about just that - patients and their health.

The thing is, unless you've experienced an illness, you can't 100 percent understand the needs of each of those illnesses? Unless you've battled chronic illness, day in and day out, over weeks, months, years, how do you know what would best benefit those who do? Not to mention that needs aren't the same across the board. What someone with depression requires probably isn't the same as what someone with a heart condition or an autoimmune disease requires. Without input from patients battling wide range of illness, it's virtually impossible to make sure that each of their needs are met.

How can this be accomplished? I'm not sure. But it's crucial for those of us for whom monthly, or even weekly, or sometimes daily doctors visits and healthcare visits and treatments are a reality. When it comes to the chronic illness, I consider myself lucky to only have to see my healthcare professional every few weeks, to only need blood work every six weeks, to have found a therapist (my main treating healthcare professional) who I trust, even if she can't take insurance. But I still don't have the access I should. I shouldn't have to pay $6000 out of pocket before insurance kicks in. I shouldn't have to pay ridiculous amounts for necessary blood work, to ensure that my life-saving medications aren't damaging my organs. I still shouldn't have to choose a bottom of the barrel insurance plan for over $400 a month because it's all I can afford - though trust me, I'm glad I at least have to be guaranteed insurance (for the time being at least). I shouldn't have to accept what I can get when it comes to my health, my life. But I do, like so many others. Because we don't get input, not enough at least, into our healthcare system. We just have to be the recipients of what everyone else decides. 

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