Stanley Feld M.D., FACP, MACE Menu


Consumer Driven Healthcare As A Result Of Social Networks

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

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Social networks can express the feelings and preferences of various groups. They have given people an individual voice. If there is universal agreement on a social network, the social network can change the supply chain of any organization, government policy or even government.

We have seen it this week in the rapid reversal of policy by Nancy Brinker and the board of directors of the Susan Komen Foundation toward the funding of Planned Parenthood of America.

 Ms. Brinker and the board were not very transparent for the reasons of its policy change in the first place. The original defunding policy was probably the result of the Foundation’s own funding pressures by pro-life contributors.

The rapid reaction of the Susan Komen Foundation social network, which was so skillfully developed by Ms. Brinker, was the probable reason for the switch back to the original policy.

 The new policy was to withdraw funding for Planned Parenthood’s providing mammograms for needing women. The new policy contradicted the mission of the Susan Komen Foundation. The social network reacted and the new policy was rescinded.

It took only a week to change the policy back to the old policy.

Social networking caused congress to abandon SOPA and PIPA in two weeks.

Both examples prove the power of the people.

The real question is how do you mobilize the power of the people to fix the healthcare system?

Everybody of all age groups knows the sound bite,“the healthcare system is broken.” 

Not many people understand the reasons it is broken. Nor are many people interested in creating the bandwidth to know those reasons until they become sick.

People who are not sick really do not care as long as they perceive they have adequate healthcare insurance coverage.   

Many President Obama fans think he is doing a great job reforming the healthcare system because of his use of well-known sound bite that the healthcare system is broken. He has promised to fix it.

He has promised to decrease healthcare costs and provide adequate access to healthcare for all people.

I have shown that President Obama’s healthcare reform act will increase healthcare costs, increase the budget deficit, decrease access to care and ration care.

Even before his healthcare plan is fully implemented it has resulted in an increase in cost of care, decrease access to care and rationed care.

Below is a comment from a neurosurgeon who was returning from a CMS seminar about restriction of access to healthcare.

It is a worthwhile to listen to his comment on new HHS regulations limiting access to care.

A way to mobilize “the people power” is get people 20 to 50 years old to understand what is being done to destroy the healthcare system. Everyone is going to need the healthcare system eventually.

These younger people understand how to develop social networks and get them to have a desired effect.

In order to reduce the cost of healthcare and increase the quality, the system must be converted from a government and healthcare insurance industry driven system to a consumer driven system.

I was “called out” by a reader because I called the new system a consumer driven system. He wants to call it a patient driven system. He defines all consumers as patients.

 “ In my opinion, everybody is a patient, and a member of one of three groups: The first group is composed of

"Patients in waiting" (the well, who require periodic screening and health information to stay well, and the worried well, who are coping with issues of some sort for which they have yet to seek professional advice); 

The ailing, composed of people who are actually coping with conditions of one sort or another that make them less than well; and 

The recovered, those who have regained an adequate measure of good health and functional capabilities after having experienced and recovered from a spell of illness. 

What we need to do is to work to make all three publics (to use a marketing term) aware of the fact that regardless of which group they may currently occupy, they are all stakeholders in the mess we currently call the healthcare system.”

This is a great point. It might inspire the “patients in waiting” to get involved now before it is too late.

In my 2020 business plan for the future state, patients are in charge not the government or the healthcare insurance industry.

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Patients would own their healthcare dollars. They have incentive to be wise consumers of healthcare and take responsibility for their health and healthcare. They would also have the incentive to make prudent healthcare and medical care choices.

The consequences of this ownership would change the behavior of the government and the healthcare insurance industry.

Both would become facilitators at the edges of the healthcare system and not the gigantic hairball in the middle of the system obstructing the patient physician relationship.

Social networking could force the government to relinquish its quest to control everybody’s choices and access to care.

 A consumer driven system would decrease the demands for expensive excessive care by the patients because they have “skin in the game.” The result would be to decrease the cost of healthcare.

These results would occur if all the other spokes of my 2020 business plan on the wheel were accomplished at the same time.

Many of you may remember the hope of a physician in Brooklyn.

“I cannot finish my career in Medicine without finding a way to integrate experienced people with great ideas and insight with young people who know how to create the tools to bring innovative approaches to actually create a functional healthcare system.”

It is my hope also.

Innovative software can be built for the future state that empowers patients in waiting, the ailing patients and the recovered patients (consumers) with the tools to express their needs.

Patients in all three groups can accept and take responsibility for their care.

In order to transform the healthcare system you do not need all the consumers in the country to be in the social network. It simply has to be compelling enough for people to join as the goals get the attention of others.

Consumer (Patient) Driven Healthcare along with the Ideal Medical Savings Account will be the foundation of this transformative healthcare system.


The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” is, mine and mine alone

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