The Big Fix Update: Changing Sickcare to Healthcare

The Big Fix Update: Changing Sickcare to Healthcare

"The US Healthcare System" is a misnomer. In fact, we have instead a sick care system of systems (public and private systems and subsystems, like the VA, the Indian Heath Service and the Department of Defense) that masquerades as a healthcare system and offers variable access, cost, quality and experience to those in different economic strata and those who work in them. Few connect with each other despite billions of dollars spent trying. The sickcare SOS is in trouble.

Most of the US $3.5 T "healthcare" spend is on taking care of sick patients. That's a problem.

Chronic disease affects health and quality of life, but it is also a major driver of health care costs and has a related impact on business such as absenteeism and presenteeism.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic disease accounts for approximately 75 percent of the nation's aggregate health care spending - or an estimated $5,300 per person in the U.S. each year. In terms of public insurance, treatment of chronic disease constitutes an even larger proportion of spending - 96 cents per dollar for Medicare and 83 cents per dollar for Medicaid.

As noted by public health experts, the keys to making progress in prevention and chronic disease control are comprehensive and have been addressed in significant detail in a number of recent publications.

The magnitude of our national health crisis requires more than occasional, individual visits to a primary care physician; it requires population-based public health strategies to reach people at work, school and in their communities. 

The transformation in the 4th industrial revolution will require building an evolving cybernervous system that is a whole product solution. 

In addition, we need to unbundle primary care and separate how we take care of sick patients from how we prevent patients from getting sick or sicker.

Taking care of an almost infinite demand for care with limited resources depends on it. Doctors wont find these tools in their black bags. Instead they find golden handcuffs.

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs on Twitter@ArlenMD.

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  • Lucie Walker

    Helpful read

  • Michael Fenato

    Excellent piece !!!

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Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA

Former Contributor

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is a professor emeritus of otolaryngology, dentistry, and engineering at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health and President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at He has created several medical device and digital health companies. His primary research centers around biomedical and health innovation and entrepreneurship and life science technology commercialization. He consults for and speaks to companies, governments, colleges and universities around the world who need his expertise and contacts in the areas of bio entrepreneurship, bioscience, healthcare, healthcare IT, medical tourism -- nationally and internationally, new product development, product design, and financing new ventures. He is a former Harvard-Macy fellow and In 2010, he completed a Fulbright at Kings Business, the commercialization office of technology transfer at Kings College in London. He recently published "Building the Case for Biotechnology." "Optical Detection of Cancer", and " The Life Science Innovation Roadmap". He is also an associate editor of the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology and Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship and Editor-in-Chief of Medscape. In addition, He is a faculty member at the University of Colorado Denver Graduate School where he teaches Biomedical Entrepreneurship and is an iCorps participant, trainer and industry mentor. He is the Chief Medical Officer at and and Chairman of the Board at GlobalMindED at, a non-profit at risk student success network. He is honored to be named by Modern Healthcare as one of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives of 2011 and nominated in 2012 and Best Doctors 2013.

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