See these stories:
"What are glasses so expensive? The eyewear industry prefers to keep that blurry"
"How badly are we being ripped off on eyewear? Former industry execs tell all"
I was a poor struggling resident. But my mother needed glasses and couldn't afford them. We scraped and planned and finally managed to get her glasses after years of when she should have had them. I distinctly remember the sense of outrage I felt at paying some ridiculous amount like $750 for the lowest end glasses that obviously didn't cost more than $25 to make -- if estimated generously. But there was no other choice -- someone had obviously captured the market and had a monopoly.
Twenty-five years later, apparently this situation has yet to be remedied. Why are soulless business entities allowed to prey upon entire populations at their weakest points, unchecked and often lauded as "successful?" Don't we have elected government representatives that make society work for us citizens? Aren't monopolies supposed to be illegal? We talk about how out of control healthcare costs are and that we get very little for our money. Here is a glaring, in-your-face (literally) example of how fundamentally broken things are, AND that what we have been doing doesn't work to fix it.
So...we unite and we fix things. Welcome to Patients United.
Dr. Braman's talk at the Stanford Medicine X conference in 2017. We need to intelligently and strategically actually design a healthcare system if we are ever going to have the kind of healthcare we could and should.
Imagine...what we could do together. Imagine a healthcare system that actually worked for us. Imagine if we hired the researchers to find the answers to the questions that we cared about.
Imagine...that we put together design teams of patients to design healthcare from the ground up. To say, "This is how it should work," "This is what works for me in my day to day life." Imagine if we as patients told the government and told industry, "This is what we expect, this is how we are going to ask for it to work and eventually demand for it to work." Again, being constructive, cooperative seeking, to make this work for everyone, but it being about healthcare and patients first and foremost.
We have been sold down-the-river in many ways in healthcare. If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.
I was speaking only a couple days ago with the chief medical officer of a major international corporation. He was telling me how they are really struggling in managing their healthcare costs, especially in the area of specialty pharmaceuticals. A lot of these new medications that should not be expensive that have somehow gotten a corner on the market, based on how our government is somehow managing the non-system of healthcare today...they can charge whatever they want.
Our government has set rules on itself that says it can’t negotiate on behalf of its citizens in regards to pharmaceutical prices! The pharmaceutical companies set whatever price they want and we all have to pay it. This is insane! If you're not outraged, start paying attention.
It is craziness that we can't even access our medical records for one doctor to show them to another doctor so that they can know best what's going on to best help us.
The reason we have this craziness is again fundamentally about money and business. Everyone is trying to carve out their turf, control market share and make as much money as possible. It is not fundamentally about patients. We need to speak up and say, "This is how this electronic stuff is going to work soon or we are going to start voting in mass and start demanding that we are only going to see certain providers and only pay for certain things."
Imagine...a system where patients at the federal level of the whole country were making the decisions on what research got funded. Not academic centers, career issues... but what actually matters to patients. This is the kind of thing that we can do, if and when we come together. Which is what we are clearly headed for with Patients United.
Imagine...a system where patients determined what doctors learned...education that actually best served patients.
Our current medical education system is archaic, it is struggling to keep up with current technology and with the changes in healthcare. The only way it is ever going to make sense and stay current is if patients are designing with medical professionals the kind of healthcare that they are going to be looking for now and into the future. How insane is it that patients are not involved in medical education.
Imagine...a system where your healthcare was not defined by, stuck within the boundaries of, the current healthcare system that says you have to go to an office visit or you cannot receive care that will be covered by us. How wonderful would it be for both patients and providers to say, "Let us out of the box, let us figure out what our actual needs are, and let us figure out how to solve those needs." Whether it is a phone call or a video conference or even by email. Lets do a system that actually makes sense and is not fundamentally about insurance billing codes and control of the money flow by industry.
Imagine...a system where we as consumers were not at the mercy of advertising craziness, whether it be the pharmaceutical industry or the supplement industry.