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Why healthcare needs to move beyond sick care

While our medical treatment and technology have made leaps in bounds in the past ten years alone, much of the current approach to dealing with and treating health concerns focus more on large-scale issues. Our current healthcare system focuses heavily on the concept of symptom treatment, which is also known as sick-care. For many of the ailments facing individuals in hospitals all over the world, medical treatment focuses on caring for sick individuals, rather than tracking the health of individuals early on to prevent sickness in the first place. Because of this, as well as the growing cost of medical care, many individuals do not visit their doctor until their illness is nearly un-treatable, driving up their costs and decreasing their chances of recovery.

Our current medical system advocates for patients visiting their doctor as soon as they feel sick, but for many individuals, going to the hospital is a last-ditch effort saved for when their symptoms become unbearable. This is very unfortunate since patients could avoid a majority of the health issues facing patients today through early detection and intervention. Things like heart attacks, treatable cancers, and other more pressing issues, are easy to treat with the correct care if caught early on. This is why the healthcare system should move beyond being a purely reactionary care system, and instead focus on early detection and prevention of illnesses and diseases.

Reaction care versus prevention care

For many people, missing your annual doctors' appointment is not a reason for concern. Most employer’s do not encourage the employee, to take time off for preventive medical appointments. Going to the doctor's office for examination is just as frightening as going to the dentist. However, a routine checkup can often help prevent more serious medical problems from developing, from regular cancer screenings to dietary and emotional health checks. Since our perception of healthcare aims at reacting to a significant problem once it becomes dangerous, instead of routinely caring for our health, the treatment of medical issues often turns into large-scale emergencies that cost thousands of dollars.

healthcare

Similarly, because most patients do not prioritize regular medical care, medical programs lean towards treating large-scale medical emergencies, instead of providing smaller scale treatment over time to prevent illnesses. Because of the focus on delivering sick care, many people do not consider that they need to see a doctor before they become sick, perpetuating the cycle.

However, if healthcare shifts from mainly providing emergency care for the sick, and instead focus on keeping healthy individuals from becoming sick, the overall cost of treatment and the abundance of severe medical emergencies would decrease over time. This would lead to an improvement in the quality of care, and the quality of life, for patients everywhere.

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