Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Uncertain Health in an Insecure World

“All The World’s a Stage” 
(As You Like It, William Shakespeare)

After a week near London’s theater district working with health care experts from 18 countries, one health fact is painfully clear – wherever we walk about this spinning blue orb – increasingly, life has a poor prognosis. 

Key players walking in the Global Health Square are:
The actors – executives, academics, insurers, professionals & policymakers – cognoscente from the developed and developing world who struggle mightily on a daily basis to meet the growing demands of population aging, chronic diseases and lifestyle change.
The audience – patients and their families – have never known greater health vulnerability or less secure day-to-day access to quality government-directed medical care.

While the players’ perspectives vary greatly, they’re all vitally concerned about the future sustainability of global health care “systems”. Experts managing this complexity seek ‘the world is flat’ solutions by trading in Six Sigma, quality assurance and best practice assets, hoping to reverse-engineer solutions back at home. Despite their best efforts, health care users find their taxes, deductibles and co-pays growing as fast as their medical services are declining.

The recent Global Health Leadership Forum sponsored by The King’s Fund & the University of California (Berkeley) in Cavendish Square brought many health care anthropologies together. The diverse participants agreed that health care system cultures differ by necessity, and concluded that ‘one size fits all’ medicine is not the answer.  By sharing cross-boundary stories & statistics, many health care system ‘clans’ gathered to define shared ownership & accountability precepts, and to channel organizational learning & leadership on behalf of their patients. 

The World Innovation Studies in Health (WISH) recognizes the need for marathon-like commitment to task, and re-emphasizes that social determinants of health contribute up to 90% of detrimental health effects. Eschewing uniquely U.S.-/Euro-centric views of ‘good’, novel models of working across social service & health funding streams appear worthy of emulation.

Where do you stand today on the global health stage?

Where will you walk tomorrow in the Global Health Square?

First Nation's Shaman, Canada

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