I don’t talk much about my day job, but let me start off by saying, I love what I do. I get to work in an area that aligns with my passion for health by marketing solutions that improve the quality of life by leveraging technology. Whether it’s Personal Health Records that enable citizens to monitor their own health and wellness, and that of their loved ones, or Remote Patient Monitoring thereby empowering individuals to self monitor their condition(s) and become more aware of their own health recovery. All the solutions I sell to government and health institutions are designed to increase health quality, while reducing overall costs.
I’m always surprised where I get the inspiration for my blog content. The great thing about blogging is there is no preselected topic or a schedule to maintain. I just write when something catches my attention and aligns with the purpose and theme of my site that I think you may be interested in reading. And today, my inspiration came while meeting a healthcare executive that’s about to embark on an impressive transformational initiative that reminded me of an article I read in the Globe and Mail at the beginning of the year. The title of the article was “Wellness Model Emphasizes Illness Prevention”. (I’ve also copied the article below for your convenience)
I’ve often said the majority of North Americans don’t care about their health until they’re faced with a health crisis that forces them to care. I’m often challenge when I say this, but how can you argue the fact that 50% of Canadian’s don’t meet the minimum physical activity and healthy eating recommendations, or 55% of Canadians and over 70% of Americans are overweight or obese. Approximately 20% of Canadians still smoke (and amazingly, male smoking is back on the rise) and alcohol consumption has increased to the point that many no longer know or choose to care what is consider unhealthy. The Heart and Stroke Foundation published a study conducted in 2010 that an amazing 9 out of 10 Canadians are jeopardizing the quality and length of their lives by ignoring these and other risk factors that they’re in complete control of.
In Canada, over 40% of your tax dollars feed an ever ravenous healthcare system, but did you know that the use of the system you pay into is wildly disproportionate. People with one or more of the five major chronic illnesses consume over 66% of our health services. If Canadian’s attitudes towards their personal health and illness prevention continue, the statistics above will surely worsen (and take note, the situation in the USA is even worse). Healthcare institutions throughout North America and around the world are continually exploring options and solutions to keep up with the demand for health services, while at the same time the people that complain most about the quality of care are the same people that take little or no interest in their lifestyle choices that directly affect their health.
Besides being a health advocate that is concerned about the quality of health of individuals and the greater population, I’m also a businessman that is witness to a healthcare system that has the potential of either bankrupting our country if current spending trends continue, or my larger concern is that the quality of life for so many will be compromised when governments and health institutions have the difficult decision of selecting which programs are to receive funding and which ones will not because of a lack of funding.
So the day of waiting for the crisis has arrived at our door step. The question is what can you do about it? The answer has been under our noises for decades. The cure to prevent many chronic illnesses and recover our critically ill healthcare system is one in the same....PREVENTION through healthy lifestyle choices.
I’m not sure if we’re actually seeing more marketing and media push in the area of illness prevention, or if it’s just that I have a heightened sense of awareness given my passion for the topic and the career I’ve chosen. Regardless, there seems to be more and more information available and the article below from the Globe and Mail is just one of many examples I’ve read or seen on television.
I’ve often said, “If you don’t take time for your health today, you will have lots of time to be sick in the future”. I’m not so sure this statement is entirely true, because if things go unchanged and the health of North Americans continues to deteriorate at its current rate, we will run out of money to treat the volume of people with chronic illnesses and the expanding services they demand, and you may not have as much time to be sick in the future as you once thought.
Make your health and the health of others a lifelong priority so you can “Enjoy the Ride”....Rob
Wellness model emphasizes illness prevention
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Nov. 24 2011, 2:28 PM EST
Dr. John Haggie is a strong proponent of the adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
As a surgeon practising in Gander, Nfld., he has first-hand experience with serious medical conditions that could be prevented with early intervention.
Among his examples, Dr. Haggie points to a patient who is about to lose her leg due to complications of type 2 diabetes. “This outcome could have been avoided at any number of points,” he says. “Better childhood nutrition and fitness could have prevented the obesity that led to the development of this woman’s diabetes. Better drug coverage could have improved her blood glucose management. Even something as simple as having her feet checked by a nurse, which costs about $20, could have saved this woman’s leg and tens of thousands of dollars to the health care system.”
As president of the Canadian Medical Association, Dr. Haggie is promoting a transformation of the health care system that will focus on illness prevention and health promotion. “The current acute disease model of health care is 20 years out of date. Today, the biggest burden on the system comes from largely preventable chronic diseases and their complications,” he says, noting part of the challenge in promoting health is that many highly effective interventions are based in the community, not in hospital or doctors’ offices (for example, programs to encourage youth fitness and smoking cessation initiatives). As a result, they are not funded by medicare.
“We have to convince the government to invest in primary and secondary prevention initiatives. The evidence shows that an upfront investment more than pays for itself down the road,” says Michael Cloutier, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Diabetes Association. He notes that just a two per cent reduction in diabetes prevalence rates would result in a nine per cent reduction in direct health care costs.
Unfortunately, the tools and medications that promote health are not accessible to all Canadians. Almost two-thirds of people with diabetes report that they cannot afford to comply with their prescribed therapy to effectively manage their disease. “A lot of people have to choose between paying for their rent or for their medications. Many more – especially those in remote and lower income communities – cannot afford healthy food. The result is more diabetes-related complications, poorer quality of life for these individuals and an increasing strain on our health care system,” says Mr. Cloutier. “We need to create a standard of care for chronic disease management across Canada.”
The Canadian Medical Association is advocating for co-ordinated investments in health promotion and disease prevention that will eliminate these gaps.
“Our goal is to ensure that by the end of the end of the next Health Care Accord, Canadians will have the best health in the world,” says Dr. Haggie.
“There is no reason why we can’t do that. By emphasizing health promotion now, we will see results by 2020.”