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Health is Wealth


Today I write from the 5th China National Congress on General Practice, in Shenyang, China, where I just presented Health is Wealth. Indeed, health is in ongoing crisis throughout the world. In every nation, cost is high and growing. Access is low for those separated by distance or insufficient finances. And, quality care is difficult to assure. So I make a plea for Heroes in Healthcare.


The outcome aim we desire is not simply more healthcare services. Rather, it is a system(s) of care that actually results in healthier lives. A useful strategy is to revisit how care in incentivized: pay for healthcare based on the value of care, rather than on simply the volume of care – so called Value Based Reimbursement. Practically speaking, how can we measure quality? By compliance with practice guidelines: evidence-based best practices, clinical markers (like Hgb A1c), patient case management, preventive care, and use of health information systems. The latter make possible the tracking of such compliance.


Professionals providing primary care are well suited for quality-based care incentives because they already provide continuous and comprehensive care, taking into account patient behavior and risk factor reduction. Primary care is research-proven to improve quality and quantity of life, and to reduce overall cost. From multiple perspectives, indeed, Health is Wealth, and we do well to incentivize this truth.


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