Captain Obvious? An understated healthcare perspective
Of the myriad of political positions and debates, healthcare is a frequent topic.
Concepts such as universal healthcare, mandatory health care and improving healthcare affordability are popular stances among current and future leaders.
And it’s with good reason, as healthcare costs in the United States are the highest in the world.
From 2017 to 2018, total US healthcare costs increased by approximately $150 billion in a single year, for a total of $3.65 trillion.
While 2019 total expenses are not yet available, a similar increase of another $150 billion can be expected.
To put this vast sum in perspective, if you took all of the annual revenue from the top 20 largest companies, it still would not be enough to pay for one year of healthcare expense.
According to the CDC, 6 in 10 adults have one chronic disease and 4 in 10 adults have multiple chronic diseases.
This includes diseases such as heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease.
And there are 4 main reasons for these diseases: smoking, alcohol, physical inactivity, and poor nutrition.
These are the behaviors that precede the disease, creating physiological changes before the disease can be diagnosed.
And these diseases are the biggest contributors to the $3.65 trillion dollars in annual healthcare expense.
And now for a statement that is awkwardly obvious… Healthcare exists because we have patients. And most patients exist because they have something wrong with their health.
Yet we live in an era of information. Low cost information. In the form of data, more has been collected in the past few years then has been collected in the entirety of humankind.
And information, specifically health related information, can also be made available… For anyone.
And it can be low-cost, or even free.
Google search has transformed the world by allowing anyone to ask a question, in the form of a search query…
And get search results as answers.
Isn’t it time for something similar for health and health related questions? To have a place where a question could be asked...
And a credible, simple, and informative answer be given in return. To have that answer available for anyone who follows.
This is socially efficient. And if it changes behaviors...It can delay the onset of disease, it’s severity, and it’s cost.
Health. It’s not political. It’s human.