The Million-Dollar Healthcare Question No One is Asking

Sunlight in Tree - How do you want healthcare to feel?

We are asking the wrong questions.

I see articles every day about how much healthcare should cost. How much drugs should cost. How quick an exam needs to be in order to be profitable. 

But I never hear anyone ask how healthcare should feel.

And it seems to me that, if we started with that one simple question, we would get a very different system than we have now.

In fact, our entire system appears to be based on the question, how much does it cost? And its corollary, how little time can we spend with each patient?

The questions you ask create the system you get.

Which leads to questions like this article about whether we can afford to provide toothpaste to patients in need. Because that toothpaste will bankrupt the whole system. And solvency is king.

If we asked my question, instead, How do we want it to feel?, providing toothpaste would be a no-brainer. Because we would know that helping take care of people feels right. That healthy teeth feel better. That knowing you can get help takes away a lot of stress and worry.

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This bizarre system that we have created – and which, by the way, we can uncreate at any time – puts a false layer of complexity into the situation. 

And leads to things like this article, on standardizing social determinants of health. A good thing, for sure, but what kind of messed-up system needs a code for every variation of basic needs?

It can be so much simpler than we have made it.

Change starts small. With a simple question.

How do we want healthcare to feel?