Defining Healthcare Problems

Defining Healthcare Problems

There are enough health professionals. Meaningful changes in public health can only result from changes in public behavior.
These problems have been well documented in books and in the media.
  • Drug and Alcohol abuse
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Sedentary Lifestyle-Poor Physical Fitness
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Anxiety, Stress and Depression
  • Suicide
  • Homelessness
  • Poverty              

In the book “Reframing Healthcare” quotes from an article in the “New England Journal of Medicine” by Dr. Steven Schroeder that shows that:

  • 40% of illness is a result of behavior;
  • 15% due to social causes;
  • 30% genetic causes;
  • 5% from environmental factors and
  • 10% to lack of healthcare.

This implies that improving access to healthcare will have little effect on the public’s health. More focus on behavioral changes and social change will have over 5 times the impact on the nation’s health. Thus we need need to deal with the social and behavioral ills of our society in order to improve the public health.

We know that humankind is a social animal and that without social contacts and social networks anxiety, stress and depression result. Drug and alcohol addiction, homelessness and suicide frequently result from isolation. With extended families drifting further apart and the decline of religion in American life, social contacts and social networks are declining. This is in spite of social media keeping us more connected.

Studies show that religious people in America live several years longer, have lower suicide rates and are generally healthier than their secular counterparts.

 Poverty also contributes to mental illness through financial stress. When someone becomes physically or mentally ill, a support system is necessary for both physical and emotional support. Historically, this has been the family as well as support from religious institutions. Bullying and shaming on social media have contributed to depression and suicide especially in the young.

HealthCare Delivery Problems 

  • High and rising costs – 7% of GDP in 1977 to 18% of GDP today with little improvement in health,
  • Over-utilization of healthcare services e.g. excessive placement of cardiac stents, 
  • Shortages of healthcare services e.g.difficulty in getting appointments especially for the poor,
  • Poor communication of healthcare data. For example, electronic medical records are not compatible with many computer systems used in business and by individuals,
  • Resistance to new innovations in healthcare delivery,
  • Physician Burnout,
  • Waste, Fraud and Abuse, 
  • Medical Bankruptcy.

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