It’s annoying having to take the odd day off work to visit the doctor on the rare occasion that most of us have to from time to time. But when you have a chronic illness, it’s even more frustrating as the time spent visiting specialists, pharmacists, and other medical related staff, increase exponentially. And, what makes it even worse is when the medical professionals drop the ball and leave you stranded without anyone to see you, in pain, through no fault of your own. Unfortunately this happens only too often when the professionals haven’t received the correct documents to be able to move forward with your treatment writes Dr Alastair Brown from Rebotec rehab.
People that suffer with chronic illnesses end up spending hours at appointments receiving vital care. They also have to spend a great deal of time chasing test results, tracking down referrals, picking up prescriptions, and talking between insurers and the health providers as neither appear to be able to talk to one another. Earlier this year an article was published in the Harvard Business Review publication that acknowledged these inefficiencies and how must wasted time they amount to for patients. In the article the authors recall a blog from Jess Jacobs (now deceased) who was chronically ill at the time. She estimated that less than .01% of the time she spent “getting care” was actually used to treat her illnesses.
Sarah Kliff is another person who decided to write about her experiences as a chronically ill patient which was published last year in Vox. In it she talks about the “burden patients face in managing the health care system: a massive web of doctors, insurers, pharmacies, and other siloed actors that seem intent on not talking with one another.” Kliff also notes how through this poor management of the health system, the patients gain a part time job where “the pay is lousy, the hours inconvenient, and the stakes incredibly high.”
It’s become apparent that over the years patients have become the healthcare system’s free labor, spending hours upon hours making calls and visits during normal working hours. Not only is this disrupting their health, but it’s disrupting their work and home lives too. More time should be spent look after our health, not making it worse by running ourselves ragged.
One way that could help make a difference is by establishing a more efficient health care system that focuses more on communicating clearly throughout the whole patient care network. This includes insurers, health care facilities, physicians and of course the patients. By introducing a more engaged network will create a much more positive outcome for patients and allow them the time they need and deserve to get better. Until then, more education and awareness programs should be put in place for both employers and the general public to demonstrate just how time-consuming the current health care system is. In making others aware, there’s hope that more policies can be put in place to help those who are suffering with chronic illness.