The obvious goal of medicine is to preserve health and minimize disease.
This is also called prophylaxis (a combination of Latin and Greek words dating almost 200 years in the past). How efficient is medicine today in doing that?! Quite efficient considering that the average human lifespan has more than doubled in the last 100 years. Insurances do have a beneficial impact by enabling access to necessary medical procedures otherwise too expensive to afford on everyday basis.
How do the present and future look like from the perspective of medical care?
In the past, medicine was concerned more with repairing and healing. Nowadays, we are more concerned with the preservation of function and structure for as long as possible. Given the considerably longer lifespans and the latest knowledge, methods and diagnostic tools available today, reactive medical care is considered unacceptable. Instead, proactive prophylaxis and individual risk management are the keys in health preservation. A total body approach is the new approach of the healthcare prevention systems. In other words, the focus on modern medicine is on early systemic diagnostics.
How do insurances fit in the picture?
Insurances, by definition, are reactive systems, protecting against damage and enabling expensive repair. An overhaul in their structure is necessary to shift focus from procedure to diagnostics. This will also have an impact on the medical educational system. Doctors will be trained to “stay” more in the diagnostics mode and understand patients better rather than quickly jump into “symptomatic treatment”. In insurance “talk”, procedures are the ones to be paid while diagnostics is inclusive, therefore shifting importance away from systemic diagnostics to limited procedural treatments, sometimes only symptomatic (palliative). With the development of computerized medical technologies, the amount of diagnostic data has increased exponentially requiring even more attention and effort in correctly interpreting the true root of the problems. Diagnostics and risk management have never been more important than today and the healthcare systems need to quickly adapt to the new medical standards.
What can you do about it?
“Don’t get hung up on HOW until you know WHY!”
Ask your doctor first Why health has been compromised and only afterwards How can it be fixed. In the medical profession, we “See only what we know and treat only what we see”. It is therefore critical to collect thorough diagnostic data and take the time to see and understand big picture. The diagnosis is only one! Insist on your insurance to cover a thorough, interdisciplinary diagnosis and … don’t forget to get a second opinion.
Dr.-medic stom., D.D.S. (USA)