Monday, April 2, 2012

It's not about the broccoli

Y'know, it was really disheartening to hear one of the current presidential hopefuls sneer that it
was 'snobbish' for the current President to encourage people to go to college (actually, all he said was that people should aspire to at least a year of post-secondary education or training.) There are some days when I am overwhelmed at the questionable level of intelligence demonstrated to me by some of my adult, fully grown-up customers. For example, the ones who know they have a large packet of new insurance information at home but don't feel it's their responsibility to open the envelope. The ones who seem unable to follow simple directions, read what is written or listen to what is told to them. They are entitled to SO many things, but don't have to hold up their end of the bargain. They don't have to study, learn, remember or pay attention. They are spectators -- it's someone else's job to do it for them. Oh, and then there are the emails from my own managers and superiors that are written at a 4th grade grammar level and full of spelling mistakes. It really gets me down sometimes.

My apologies for not posting too often lately -- I was lucky enough to take a vacation to Europe and as always, enjoyed making some observations about health care. Pharmacists are a first-line resource for health care over there, and that makes a lot of sense to me. How many people do we see coming from a doctor's appointment clutching a piece of paper on which the doctor has
scribbled "hydrocortisone cream", or "Benadryl" or "Sudafed?" There are a lot of people who go to the doctor for minor things because they simply don't know what else to do. I guess they don't trust anyone but a doctor to tell them what to take. People have to understand how expensive this is. And then there are stories like the one Dr. Grumpy linked to, where a guy called 911 because he had scabies, and the full force of the American Health Care System weighed in to the tune of a thousand bucks. It's madness.

I had a conversation with someone in Britain who needed to go to an 'urgent care' clinic for
some severe traveler's diarrhea. Yeah, she had to wait a little while (just like here), but was seen by a clinician who prescribed totally appropriate treatment, handed her the box of antibiotic tablets (no pharmacy visit involved), told her what to do and she went on her way. No money changed hands and no bill was generated. I know it's just one example, but it seems pretty simple (and a lot cheaper) to me.

What's missing in the health care debate are the voices of the people who actually work in health care. Why don't we see them on TV instead of a bunch of extremist political pundits screeching about losing their 'freedoms?' I simply can't watch it anymore without getting depressed, yet I probably have an obligation to watch. We spend more on health care per person that any nation in the world, and get poorer results when it comes to basic preventive care. How do we get that through to people who can't understand the words "THIS CARD REPLACES YOUR OLD ONE??"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That was my impression of healthcare in Vienna, Budapest, and Berlin. Commonsense (taking responsibility for care of one's own health) is not all that common here and now in the US.