Intentional choices in health care
In my previous blog post, I introduced the concept of sustainability in health care. By definition, sustainability refers to taking only what you need and leaving something for others. In fact, a sustainable lifestyle may even result in giving back more than you take. Let's talk a little bit about the fundamental principles of sustainability and how they may relate to health care.
The first element of living a sustainable lifestyle is making intentional choices. The sustainable agriculture movement is a good example of an opportunity to make intentional choices. There's been a recent change of mind for many folks with the quality and source of their foods. Many people are choosing to purchase foods from a known source. They're choosing to shop local and buy organically grown fruits, grains, and vegetables. Look at the success of Whole Foods, Sprouts and Kroger's 'Simple Truth' line of organics. In a September 2014 article in Bloomberg Business, Justin Bachman writes that the Simple Truth line has hit $1billion dollars in annual sales. That's a lot of intentional choices. Although the Simple Truth line represents only 1% of Kroger's annual revenue, Kroger realizes that the market is there. The simple fact is that people are making intentional choices with their food.
Is the intentional choice of organic food for everyone? Not at all. As of February 2015, Burger King sales posted a 3% increase in the previous sales quarter. An intentional choice with food is a difficult one for low-income families. Good food often equals expensive food, but eating a fresh, healthy diet can be affordable when you grow your own. Who's got time for that, right? To me, personally, not having a vegetable garden would be a sad loss of a growing season. But I also know other people who wouldn't know how to grow a tomato if their life depended upon it.
Fifty years ago, health care in this country was just plain different. The delivery model was quite simple. You went to the doctor when you were bruised or broken. There was no management of chronic illness and subsequently, you died from a disease. Not so today. But the point is this; the way that primary care manages our health makes us feel as if we have no choices. Our health is managed for us by others taking the choices out of our hands. I disagree. It's time to reinstitute intentional choice in health care. Intentional choices in health care are personal choices. You're simply assuming responsibility for the most precious thing that you have been given - the gift of life.
Jeffrey A. Oster, DPM