A guest post written by Charles Lindahl
“Peeling Away Health Care’s Sticker Shock,” a recent Wired magazine article on the high cost of health care, concluded, “The health care business is about patients. But the patient population has been largely powerless….” A new study by the Institute of Medicine found that, “patients often find the health care system uncoordinated, opaque, and stressful to navigate.”
There are signs this is changing. More people, unsatisfied with the existing health care system that places important decision making with physicians, are taking matters into their own hands.
- About 40% of Americans are turning to complementary and alternative care spending about $34 billion each year on this care. By far the most popular alternative care is prayer; almost half of the respondents report relying on prayer.
- Recognizing the impact of life styles on health, many people are eating wisely, exercising more, and reducing consumption of alcohol and tobacco. Health insurers and corporations are providing incentives to encourage healthy lifestyles.
- Apps for Apple and Android mobile phones are now available to promote more healthy lifestyles and positive caregiver-patient relationships. These apps enable people to monitor and manage stress; track exercise, diet, and weight; and monitor such signs as blood pressure – and they can sync with other technologies and feed data directly into patients’ files.
- Patients are being encouraged to use checklists to exert greater control of their care. Checklists can include bringing a friend to a consultation, talking to the person directing the care, asking questions, and taking notes when meeting with caregivers.
These signs indicate that patients, no longer content to surrender responsibility for their health to caregivers, are taking greater personal responsibility for their care and decisions about it. I’ve found prayer to be the epitome of patient-centered health care. Through prayer, I’m able to reaffirm my relationship with God and this deepens my understanding of God as the ultimate source of health and wellbeing. The Holy Bible says, “… I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” (Ps. 43:5)