Saturday 3 January 2015

Does Cost of HealthCare reflect Quality HealthCare ?

I have often wondered about the state of Medical Care across the world. We are surrounded by scientific data which emphasizes Evidence Based Medicine, Patient Safety, Best Practices, Current Norms etc.

I have attended conferences and meetings where we talk about what is best for  our patients.

Developed nations like United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Japan etc. are the major powerhouses of research and manufacturing of evidence based medicine  norms.

They work in a Paper Less Hospital Settings where Electronic Systems try to minimize the risks and maximize the speed and efficiency of patient care with uniformity in the practice of evidence based medical care.

I deem this as an Ideal Scenario for best patient care across the world which is continuously improving with regulation, education and innovation playing a major role.

Is this possible across the world ?
The answer to this question is  a very complex one !

The whole practice of uniformity in patient care stems from uniformity in education and uniformity in skills training, uniformity in testing physicians for being qualified, uniformity in regulations, Uniformity in accountability and uniformity in economic stability to sustain such an uniform health care delivery system.

Transitional Economies where the rural and urban divide is still being bridged, industrialization is at its peak and population imbalance is a major concern with infections, cancer and trauma being major killers- the opportunity for the phenomenon of uniformity is an uphill task to accomplish.

Establishing Uniformity stems from sowing the seeds of change and simultaneously coaching change in the existing health systems. Building a model of health care which is sustainable and accountable where government and private sector work hand in hand and reach a zone where No patient is refused care and gets similar care if he/she visits any health care facility is an objective which needs to be achieved at a speedy pace if we have to provide quality care for all.

Today transitional economies are still operating under a divide of government supported healthcare for the less affording patients and private / corporate supported healthcare for the insured/affording/self paying patients. In this situation the perception is that "Expensive is better Quality" Similar to the Perception that "Expensive Hotel stands for Quality Hospitality and Safe Food". As we have star ratings for hostels we are now wooing for ratings for hospitals.

Do we want this for the psychology of a patient, who will now perceive that if he/she cant afford care then he/she has nowhere to go and he/she will have to be satisfied with what is available. This gives rise to an imbalance in the value system of a population and an generation.

Providing Quality HealthCare For All should be one of the top 5 priorities of any government with Education, Economy, Defense Development, Science & Technological Growth being the other four which form the Fist of Progress for any nation.

Health is the Wealth of a Nation. A Healthy Nation will always be an economically progressive Nation. Provision of Preventive and Curative Quality HealthCare for All is a major step on this ladder to Progress !

Sagar Galwankar, MD

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