In charge of care? Not me.

Whaaaat??? It’s true. I want to give up that whole ‘control’ thing. Especially when it comes to the health care that I receive. Control is a word that doesn’t belong in the world of health care. At all. When I studied Health Care Management and Administration, a long time ago, it was trendy to talk about demand-driven care. More than 20 years on and it has yet to be successfully implemented.


So we chose another word for it: Control. A perfectly vague word. The healthcare provider thinks: here you go. Here’s your tiny budget. It might seem slightly inadequate, but you’ll manage! Even if you are too ill or too worried to understand it all. And, with the very best of intentions, they call it: handing back control. The politicians think: ridiculous! Of course the patient is in control, how could you possibly think otherwise? Yet, in the same breath that same politician is threatening to do exactly the same as the healthcare provider: go over the head of the patient and decide what’s best for them.

Barking up the wrong tree

Of course, they all mean well. But as the Brits so aptly put it: they’re barking up the wrong tree.

Let me explain using ParkinsonNet as an example. They provide a website, with all of the healthcare providers you could ever possibly need listed conveniently in a row. Just type in your location and voilà – all of the desired information appears on your screen. There’s no mention of control or demand-driven care. No, on the contrary, the care providers are simply presented in a handy list. Now that’s what I call service. It’s the same as the logical grouping of supermarket products. Supermarkets don’t just plonk their entire product range onto one shelf and say: here you go, we’re handing control back to you, our valued customer. Of course not, otherwise no-one would shop there. They even give you a magazine that explains what to do with their products once you’ve bought them.

What modern health care needs

That’s what I miss in modern healthcare. Control and demand-driven care are fine sounding words. You could spend hours talking about them, and even conduct entire studies into them. I happen to know. But I also happen to know that if you respect your client, patient, or whatever you prefer to call them, you have to provide them with clear information, direction and choices. The longer you fail to do so, the longer you’ll make navigating the healthcare system impossible, and the longer the patient will be at the mercy of your, or the politician’s decisions.