Integrated Healthcare Systems

The world of healthcare is always changing. When you think back to healthcare and health services back when our parents and grandparents were children and then compare things to healthcare today things are drastically different. One thing that has changed and developed and also continues to change and develop as we speak is what is called the integrated healthcare systems. Sometimes also referred to as multi-care providers or multi-care treatment, these systems intend on focusing on convenience for the client or patient and ease of working through the system. Typically these systems cover a wide area of travel and are operated through multiple levels. The systems also incorporate many different types of services including medical services and general health and wellness services as well. The goal is the get you healthy and to keep you that way with this type of integrated system.

A system such as Manhattan Illinois healthcare has many different offices and services connected to it. There is typically a large hospital that would be the main center and then many other clinics, offices, and even smaller hospitals that feed into and work off of or from the larger hospital. Patients can visit a doctor in a medical center or office and expect to the same level of service if they visit a different doctor, hospital, or other provider that is within the same integrated healthcare systems. There is also the benefit of having your medical records contained in the same system so that you don’t have as much trouble trying to track down a get your medical records to all your different doctors.

Information is many times also maintained in the integrated healthcare systems information center so that if you visit Monee healthcare instead of another center then your information can be located because it is all consider the same provider. In a way this is like an umbrella system that covers the patient. There can be advantages for a patient and the goal of the integrated healthcare system is to make the experience better for both the patient and for the healthcare providers as well.

This way of providing care for patients is drastically different than how the doctors and nurses may have provided care in the past but one could say that it is an attempt on a large scale to make patients feel similar. A doctor from Manteno healthcare is not likely to come to your home to provide care but the hope would be that because you are in this network of healthcare and provided quality and uniform care that you may feel somewhat like your father or grandfather felt with the doctor at their home.

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Healthcare Reform – Letter to President Elect Barack Obama

The President Elect is welcoming comments from the public via his website at I’m sure he and his transitional team have had plenty of ideas, hopefully constructive and helpful, since his historical win.

When it comes to healthcare, I personally believe that the public doesn’t want to do all the research in uncovering the best doctors, hospitals, or health insurance plans anymore than they want to research the most financially solvent bank or safest restaurant to eat in. Nevertheless I wrote my book Stay Healthy, Live Longer, Spend Wisely – Making Intelligent Choices in America’s Healthcare System precisely because that is how the healthcare industry and employers, who purchase the insurance, feel that the system as a whole will improve. At least if that is the expectation, provide the public the skills and knowledge to make the right decision.

My comments to the President Elect highlight a very different system of reform, which already exists and is a uniquely American solution to the healthcare crisis.

To President Elect Obama:

Healthcare is currently provided by hospitals and doctors each working separately in little fiefdoms which worked well two centuries ago when patients died of acute illnesses and infections. Today patients are busier than ever, caring for aging parents, and dealing with chronic illnesses, that were never faced by generations ago. The public already gets a variety of choices in financial services, consumer electronics, air transportation, and dining, which are often provided by well-run, highly regarded, focused organizations. Why not healthcare? Americans don’t want the level of responsibility of researching doctors, hospitals, or health plans anymore than they wish to review the safety records of airlines, DUI reports of pilots, or the maintenance records or airworthiness of the aircraft they are about to get on. Similarly with healthcare what they expect and want is a patient friendly healthcare system to care for them when they get ill.

The good news is that a uniquely American solution already exists and can deliver on this promise. Research has shown that the vertically integrated healthcare organization Kaiser Permanente consistently outperformed university and community hospitals in decreasing risk of heart disease by 30 percent. Other studies have shown that the VA healthcare system with its salaried doctors provided better care to its diabetics than doctors in the fee for service community. Other organized healthcare organizations like Geisinger Health Plan and Harvard Pilgrim Health have also shown superior outcomes than the fragmented uncoordinated doctors and hospitals around them.

Healthcare will never be cheap, but we can get more for our dollars. The Dartmouth Atlas of Care found that even though there was not a large difference in health outcomes, the cost of caring for Medicare recipients in the last two years of life varied widely from $93,000 per patient at UCLA, $85,000 at John Hopkins, and $78,000 at Massachusetts General, to the lowest at $53,000 at Mayo Clinic. The “savings” from the most expensive programs could be moved to provide better access or quality care to those who need it, but it won’t change the total medical cost expenditures.

Our healthcare crisis will only be solved if the entire industry reorganizes into systems which are aligned to focus on the end product, great healthcare delivery, rather than the piecemeal mom and pop cottage industry which currently exist. This is far harder than it sounds and will require leadership from within healthcare to get it done as well as federal leadership on changing the payment structure to encourage quality rather than volume.

If as a country we fail to solve this crisis, our economy will simply worsen as the workforce will become increasingly unhealthy as more people find healthcare unaffordable and consequently will be unable to work or be competitive in a global marketplace. This is a competition we cannot afford to lose.

Davis Liu, M.D., is a practicing board-certified family physician. He graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his medical degree from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. His book, Stay Healthy, Live Longer, Spend Wisely – Making Intelligent Choices in America’s Healthcare System, is an insider’s on saving money and getting the right medical care people deserve, but don’t get.

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