With Changes in Health Care, Time to Own It

By Jane Clark

With our health care changing daily, no one knows for sure how it will all end up. Not the hospitals, not the doctors and definitely not us, the patients. But the one thing we can be sure of is change. A change in billing, a change in coverage, a change in delivery, a change in our health and a change in individual accountability.

The new Accountable Care Organization will focus on quality versus volume. Health care organizations today will be presented with strong governance models pushing them toward a change to more accountable health care systems. The accountability will fall on both the physician and the patient.

Patients must learn to engage in their health and contribute to their clinical outcomes. In other words, we must understand and take charge of our own health care management. In order to forge ahead, we must own it! Own your health, that is. The last time I checked, my doctors were human beings just like me. They are limited by their own knowledge and capabilities. A physician might be more knowledgeable than I am in the medical arena, but no one is more knowledgeable about ourselves and our own bodies than we are. It is not fair to expect your doctor to have all of the answers without you providing the correct information about your body and then correctly following through with his direction. So own your health.

The Hippocratic Oath sworn to by all physicians mentions “That I will recognize the limits of my knowledge and pursue lifelong learning to better care for the sick and to prevent illness.”

Let’s take note of the words “prevent illness.” We have a responsibility to participate with our physician in our checkups and examinations to encourage our own better health. We cannot simply rely on medicine to treat us once we are ill, but we must be proactive in our health to hopefully avoid taking medicine at all. Not to sit on the couch, but to walk down the street and get some exercise. Not to wait for the flu to present yourself in a local ER, but instead to see your physician by appointment at the onset of any symptoms of an illness. Let’s work together to keep our ERs for life-and-death circumstances and not the common cold. Let’s spend our health care dollars more wisely. Own your health. Your accountability has to be an attainable goal in order to improve your individual health care experience.

Words you can depend on seeing going forward include Nutrition and Wellness, Preventive Medicine, Improved Outcomes and Accountable Care. We are all given a duty to take care of the space we occupy on this Earth. Own it! And if you know someone not as fortunate as yourself, remember “Love they Neighbor,” and help them gain an understanding so they can own it too.

Jane Clark is president of Wolf River Management LLC and a member of the Memphis chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women.