2017 Healthcare Apocalypse: What Nurses Need To Do To Save Healthcare

It’s 2017. The Affordable Care Act aka ‘Obama care’ is on the Republican’s chopping blocks. Birth control coverage is evaporating. Stricter laws on abortion in states are getting passes. And actuaries are trying to control health care through predictive modeling! A healthcare apocalypse is on the horizon.

 

Watching what goes on in healthcare through the media seems like a reality show of sorts. You don’t know what’s going to happen next? Who’s gonna fight with whom? What politician is going to vote on something he or she’s never experienced? I’m just waiting for tables to be flipped!

 

I still remember the days of working on a post partum unit in a hospital as Registered Nurse and taking care of a nine year old female who just gave birth to her first child because she was raped by an uncle. Or the days when I would walk into my Pediatric Nurse Practitioner clinical site in Down Town Los Angeles on Saturday mornings while protestors across the street at a female clinic gathered angrily bearing large crosses with plastic dolls nailed to them covered in red paint. A politician never crossed my path on these occasions. Nor did an actuary.

 

As usual, I questioned why? How could this happen to such an innocent child? Don’t these people protesting have better things to do on a Saturday morning like be with their families and have brunch? Instead of screaming at the women entering the clinic, did they ever think to ask: “What’s your story? Why are you here?” But I guess shoving a cross with a plastic doll nailed to it in peoples faces makes a greater impact.

 

It’s sad, our freedoms are being challenged.

 

Not to mention actuaries are trying to control healthcare through predictive modeling. The same predictive modeling that Netflix uses:

 

“If you liked “Shrek,” you might like “Kung Fu Panda.” In health care, predictive analytics are used to identify leading indicators of disease, spot patient trends, and help health care providers establish effective treatments. And as the health care industry embraces precision medicine to provide customized treatment, it will need to adopt more precise predictive models to identify high-risk patients and tailor interventions to meet their needs.”(STAT, 12/17/2016)

 

I’ve been in healthcare for 20 years, and not all patients present the same. They may be similar it’s true, but not the same. When Netflix gives me recommendations on what I might like, 90 % of the time, their recommendations barely peak my interest. Yes, I just watched Anthony Bourdain’s: Part’s Unknown, but Dinner’s, Drive In’s and Dives doesn’t look appetizing.

 

A note to actuaries: Patient’s are not cogs in a wheel. They are not numbers. What they are: living breathing human beings with individualized lives and stories. I think sesame street outlines it best with their song: “One of these things is not like the other.”

 

In a blog by Kevin MD the author tells a story of how a doctor was ordered by a 28 yr. old MBA hospital Administrator to round on certain floors first because it was more cost effective for the hospital. The doc protested and said: But that’s not what’s best for my patients!”

 

Ah healthcare, where do we go from here?

 

Nurses Are Pivotal In Saving The HealthCare Apocalypse

 

For the past 15 years, nurses have been rated as the most trusted and ethical profession on the Gallup pole’s honesty and ethical section.

 

“Trust plays an important role in the relationship between nurses and the patients we serve,” said Pamela Cipriano, PhD, RN, president of the American Nurses Association. “Based on this survey, no other profession is held in as high regard by the public. And given nursing’s frontline perspective on healthcare delivery, we offer a point of view that is unmatched.”

 

So, why aren’t more nurses running for office? Why aren’t more nurses making laws? Why aren’t more nurses WRITING about healthcare? Why? Why? Why?

 

Why are we letting a medical analyst with no medical background write about healthcare? Or an entrprenur who is a fashion expert write about choices on birth control?

 

The answer: Many nurses are afraid. Some don’t know how to write or run for office. Take a class, get rid of the fear, and attend a local council meeting, and then take action!

 

Nurses need to get out there and change the world! This is the time to get active. Yes, protests are great, but in order to make a huge and lasting impact NURSES need to take a more proactive stance. Write an article on healthcare reform, run for your local office, and educate the public because we have first hand knowledge of what goes on and what a patient’s story is all about!

 

Resources

Guau, Gary. Actuaries are bringing Netflix-like predictive modeling to health care. STAT December 13, 2016. https://www.statnews.com/2016/12/13/actuaries-health-care-precision-medicine/

 

Mongan, Emily. Nurses rank as most trusted profession for 15th straight year. Mcknight’s December 20, 2016. http://www.mcknights.com/news/nurses-rank-as-most-trusted-profession-for-15th-straight-year/article/580171/