Redefining Healthcare – Paradigm Shifts Needed

May 16, 2009

It has been nearly impossible to escape the tidal wave of interest and sheer volume of ink (in paper or digital form) that has been spent on examining our current healthcare system and the myriad proposals for change that would lead to a more sustainable, humane and equitable system.

The subject of this post is a bite-sized assessment of this problem from Dr. Stanley Skollar of Life Extension Foundation (if you’ve poked around this blog, you know how highly I regard the work of LEF). ‘Bite-sized’ in that it’s not a 400 page tome, but touches on issues that have been broached by people like Clayton Christensen, George Halvorson and others of the thought leaders who I hope will play a major role in shaping our healthcare future.

There are two big numbers (out of an ocean of relevant and important numbers) I’d like to home in on in this post:

According to the Congressional Budget office, the total national spending on healthcare has more than doubled in the last 30 years. The projections are, that by the year 2035, healthcare will require more than 30% of our total GDP, 40% by 2060 and 50% by 2082!

… and …

The medical care costs for people with chronic degenerative diseases account for more than 75% of our nations two trillion plus dollars expense for all medical care!

Yes, these are big numbers and can lead to a myriad of conclusions, however, I’d like to invite you consider the possibility that one of our first orders of business should be to rethink how we provide care for those living with chronic conditions. In many cases, we have approaches that can remedy some conditions, thereby greatly reducing the overall system cost for caring for these patients.

We have more and more mounting evidence that patient-centered, coordinated care focused on overall outcomes (not merely treating the disease end-state) reduces costs and leads to healthier patients. I have been gathering examples of this evidence in my delicious favorites list. The chroniccare tag gives you 50+ examples (as of this writing, anyway) that point the way.

What is so impressive about Dr. Skollar’s article on Life Extension, is that he succinctly provides novel diagnostic guidance for a wide range of issues. Here are just a few examples:

  • He succinctly cites four expressions of molecular pathology that are at the root of both so-called ‘normal’ aging and chronic diseases: oxidative stress, inflammation, glycation and defects in methylation.
  • He goes on to offer novel approaches to diagnosing each of these expressions.
  • Finally, he offers concrete recommendations calling out specific neutraceuticals (nutrients, dietary supplement, etc.) that have been shown to address the detrimental mechanisms previously described

It is well worth the read:

Redefining Healthcare: Towards a Shift in the Medical Paradigm

By Stanley Skollar, M.D.


One Response to “Redefining Healthcare – Paradigm Shifts Needed”

  1. greg Says:

    great information! keep it coming!


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