Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hans Rosling - Follow-up.

I hope that some readers enjoyed the TED talk by Hans Rosling. It's a good entry into the wealth of information and entertainment that TED talks contain. I wonder if any of you took a look at the tool that he used on the internet? It's available at http://www.gapminder.org/ for free. You can compare any countries to one another. It might be a good way to find success stories in health around the world and help us clear up our 'Healthcare system mission'.

Although Rosling seems to be suggesting that gaps have narrowed over the past half-century, which I agree with, I think there is another point that can be taken from the lecture. It combines his ideas with those of Jill Eisen, the host of a two-part CBC program on 'Sick People or Sick Societies' which laid out the social determinants of health and their importance of determining the health of communities and nations.

Health services are only one of many, and not the most important! That's an important fact and one we forget often in medical practice. The analogy of fishing drowning people out of a river and never going upstream to see who or what is causing them to fall in comes to mind.

At her lecture on debt Margaret Atwood referred to 'Universal Education' as a possible solution to social problems in Canada. She also didn't sound optimistic about the adoption of that idea...

Do you see any connections between the other determinants of health and the use of the healthcare system? It might stem from a mission for a healthcare system you read about below. Write in a comment and let's learn from one-another.

1 comment:

cflat said...

There seems to be a tacit disconnect between health and medical care. George Bernard Shaw wants lamented that Doctors had ceased to be healers and were assuming control over the patient's entire life.

I will freely admit that I would likely not have survived childhood a century before. I depend on the medical system. Yet, I wonder if the current healtcare system detracts from good health. I wonder if the complexity of the system; the fear of misdiagnosis or inability to diagnose; the barriers imposed by process all contribute to diminishing the overall health of a patient.

Personally, I think the fundamental problem is that we expect our medical system to answer all the problems. To diagnose and treat any ailment we have. It wasn't always this way. Healthcare use to be seen as a best effort, but not exact science. Doctors were the tools of the community to create better health. Instead, now we have doctors acting as the nexus to better health who use tools to accomplish their job.

Hrmm.. not sure if that really made much sense. But there it is. I'll try and come back and polish these thoughts later.

Have you read "Medical Nemesis" or "Tools for Vonviviality" by Ivan Illich? If not, you should.