The Old Disease Care System
Healthcare in the US was set-up to treat the infectious diseases of the industrial age. Our system was set-up to "identify a disease." Then to treat the disease - usually with medication. It generally worked well. It was even kind of affordable. In 1960 5% of your income was spent on health care.
We have all come to expect this type of a system. Something is wrong. You go to a medical provider. You expect tests will be done to identify the problem. You expect a pill or procedure to take care of the problem. You get better. But in 2016 you spent 17.9% of your income on health care.
New Health Care Business Model
Now health care has become a big business. We have been conditioned to expect tests. Of course, we need to determine what is causing our problem. Then we can get a pill to make us better. Or get something else done to fix our problem.
The tests have gotten more expensive and exotic; pills have gotten more expensive and dangerous. A doctor can do surgery with a robot. The robot costs more but may not be more effective. At least there seems to b a steep learning curve.
Chronic Disease not Infectious Disease
Now most health problems are from chronic diseases. Things like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and arthritis. Most of these disease are related to obesity from the modern diets and decreased physical activity. We are losing ground in the treatment of modern chronic diseases. It doesn't make any sense to apply an infectious disease treatment model anymore.
Effective Treatment: Eating & Exercise
You can effectively treat chronic diseases with exercises and what you eat. You may be able to get off medication. Or avoid surgery. Maybe stop all the injections. Save time, save money, avoid danger.
The Diabetes Example
Sarah Hallberg, MD has a great YouTube video: "Reversing Type 2 Diabetes Starts with Ignoring the Guidelines" that is a great example. Dr. Hallberg teaches people how to take care of their diabetes by changing what they eat and getting off medication. The traditional medical system covers doctors office visits, medications, and supplies to monitor and control your blood sugar if you have diabetes. That is what you have been conditioned to expect. That is how your doctor has been taught to treat you. It's not your doctor's fault. Information, like Dr. Hallberg shares in her video, is one way to change the system.
Will Change Like CVS buying Aetna Help?
The headlines have been interesting. December 21, 2017 Hartford Courant "At CVS, CEO's Health Gamble: Ex-pharmacist May Reshape Industry" was eye opening.
It seems like CVS wants to be able to have you go to the CVS locations to see your doctor employed by CVS so you can get your pills from the CVS pharmacy - all at the same location. It sounds like they will use their "data" to keep track and see if you are taking your pills and following their plan for you.
A Pharmacy-Health Insurance company business model doesn't seem like a way to bring people like Dr. Sarah Hallberg to help you cure your medical problems with diet and activity.
There will be no medication to control your blood sugar.
No blood sugar testing supplies.
You will need fewer office visits.
Your health insurance premiums would go down.
Unless they play to put free full service gyms in all the CVS locations and bring in people and services like Dr. Hallberg, it may just be another version of increasing costs and diminishing returns. After all, it's been reported that the CEO of Aetna could make $500 million on the CVS-Aetna deal.
Christopher DiPasquale, PhD, PT, OCS, SCS, CHT is a physical therapist at
with offices in Hebron and Colchester, Connecticut. He is board certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in Orthopedic Physical Therapy and Sports Physical Therapy and a Certified Hand Therapist by the Hand Therapy Certification Committee.