ROH: What are the biggest challenges impeding a better Healthcare system today?
AB: The societal concerns of cost and inefficiency in healthcare need to be adequately addressed.
Too many people have their hands in the cookie jar. The number of people involved in the authorization of care and payment processes is numerous. These middlemen delay the care of patients and increase costs. For example, Worker’s Compensation often requires multiple steps, each of which extends the time to treatment and adds expense. Another example is Pharmacy Benefit Managers, who increase the price of prescription medications and add yet another step between the pharma company and the patient via the doctor. Again, this contributes to the bill, frustrates physicians, and extends the time to treat the patient.
While the oversight to identify overutilizers is supported, the interference in getting care to a patient in need is not. Most clinicians are doing the right thing for their patients, and an adjustor, insurance representative, and more only increases delays to care and cost.
ROH: What should the ideal Healthcare system look like?
AB: “The Patient is seeing the Right Clinician at the Right Time.” Period.
ROH: How can we deliver or access quality care expediently and cost-effectively today?
AB: For example, if your child is ill, at a Pediatric Urgent Care Center, you will find professionals well-versed in pediatric doses of specific medications and common childhood illnesses and diseases. They will have pediatric-sized equipment and products. Their specialty and training are pertinent to children. As a result, your chances of a quick, accurate diagnosis and treatment are higher, and the costs (and likely time spent) are far less than going to a typical Emergency Department associated with a hospital. In addition, an Urgent Care Pediatrician will likely order fewer tests as their clinical experience is better refined for that patient. This leads to more rapid diagnoses, timely treatment, and decreased costs.
The same concept applies to Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASC). Unlike surgeries in a hospital, they specialize only in routine specific surgeries on otherwise healthy patients. As a result, the exposure to infections and medical errors is reduced in these surgical centers versus hospitals.
This was likewise my thinking when we created OrthoNOW. It is a walk-in center prepared to readily provide timely, expert diagnosis, treatment, imaging, and care for orthopedic injuries or concerns. This is performed at a significant cost saving for the patient versus a visit to a hospital Emergency Department.
In short – Seeing the correct specialist at the right time and place saves time and money and improves patient outcomes.
ROH: How does Primary Care reduce healthcare costs?
AB: Primary Care focuses on preventative measures to keep each patient healthy and prevent illness. Primary Care Physicians and Mid-level professionals such as Physician Assistants are essential in saving lives, preventing disease, and reducing healthcare costs!
See this quick podcast video discussion regarding the importance of Primary Care:
ROH: We MUST do something about a system whose cost and inefficiency continue to rise. How do you help the concerned Public and Physicians better understand the issues confronting Healthcare today?
AB: The current healthcare system of rising costs and inefficiency is unsustainable. While America has some of the most advanced technologies in the world, with renowned clinicians to deliver care, the increasing costs and wait times prevent people from seeking necessary care. Awareness and education for the Public and Healthcare Professionals regarding the barriers contributing to delays and the escalating care costs are needed to revert US healthcare to a patient-focused endeavor.
ROH: You mention the need to educate the Public and Healthcare Professionals. How can that be done to meet their busy and diverse schedules?
AB: We recently started a weekly free 15-minute podcast each Thursday at 9 am Eastern Time called Fixing Healthcare from The Trenches. We discuss the challenges Americans encounter within our current state of healthcare. The public and professionals are invited to the live and recorded sessions to learn about real solutions to improve US healthcare.
Access to live and recorded sessions are available here: https://www.youtube.com/@drbadia/streams
ROH: What are other actions required to implement the healthcare changes you suggest?
AB: Actions and concepts to consider include:
- Health Insurance Companies should be not-for-profit and reinvest in healthcare delivery. Their Leadership should be rewarded for creating cost-effective models with superb clinical outcomes.
- Reimburse based on quality rather than quantity.
- Collaborate! Contact your political leaders, speak with organizational leadership, and get involved in Professional Organizations.
- Reducing burdensome bureaucracy will result in better overall healthcare outcomes and less burnout among healthcare workers today.
- Technology and AI provide the exciting potential to improve all aspects of healthcare. Embrace it.
About Dr. Alejandro Badia
Dr. Alejandro Badia is a Hand and Upper Limb Orthopedic Surgeon and creator and founder of the Badia Hand to Shoulder Center in the heart of Doral, Florida. OrthoNOW was inaugurated in 2010, offers a licensing program, and is actively engaging healthcare entrepreneurs and surgeons for national expansion. He is also the author of Healthcare from the Trenches. He now has a weekly podcast, entitled fixing healthcare… From The Trenches.