What if our Healthcare Professionals used Critical Thinking Skills a little more like an Electrical Engineer?

In spite of technological breakthroughs that have radically changed the way the world operates in amazingly fascinating and wondrous ways, the very same technology and innovation seems to have a very difficult time cracking into the thick headed medical community. Chronic health problems such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, depression, cancer, and dementia/Alzheimer’s are on the climb. In spite of all of the information and technology we now have available for prevention, our so called “healthcare providers” continue to fail on a societal level. We have remained steadily focused on how to medicate to treat our problems rather than on how to live a healthy lifestyle that promotes wellness.

You may be thinking, “My doctor tells me to exercise and lose weight all the time”. While I am sure that is true, why don’t they also just say “take medicine to cure your sickness”?  Why do they instead tell you what medicine to take for how long and at what time? The reason is that there actual business is not getting you to lose weight, or be healthy and nor was that part of their training. The business is to sell medicine, to treat sickness and to make a profit.  I am not suggesting some sinister motive of doctors out there, I am more just pointing out how the big for-profit medical machine works very well in this country. Or fails.

Let’s do a little critical thinking. When you challenge an MD in this country about our nation’s chronic healthcare problems most of them would probably admit that their patient’s poor diet and lack of exercise is the number one problem and culprit for these alarming statistics. The always confusing thing to me is that for people that have dedicated their lives to being “healthcare professionals” of the highest level, none of them really take the least bit of responsibility for their own failure in this area. What I generally hear instead is something along the line of: “It is not a Doctor’s job to convince or coach patients to eat right and exercise and we can’t make people make good decisions? We have real sickness and illness to cure and treat.” But how does that match up with the actual goal which is, or should be, societal wellness? What if wellness coaching is exactly what their job as a healthcare professional was all about? Maybe coaching is not the right job for an MD, but what if the very first relationship that a person has in life with a healthcare professional was a wellness coach instead of an illness doctor? I firmly believe, and even a lot of MD’s seem to agree, that the hardest and most crucial aspect of a person’s own healthcare is their own motivation; shouldn’t a successful wellness coach earn even more than a successful MD and receive even higher levels of training in that crucial area? Seems simple enough right? Why isn’t that the case? Why is the reality the opposite? Your insurance company won’t even cover wellness services such as fitness memberships or wellness and personal dietary coaching, and our best and brightest youth are never encouraged into such a field. But, if you need someone to slice you open and tie a knot in your stomach so that you don’t have to learn dietary self-control, your insurance company is more than happy to pay the bill. I could get into further explaining why the for-profit healthcare system works in this backward manner, but if it is really still that hard to understand; no amount of internet blogging is likely to shed any light on the distinction for you anyway.

The biggest issue that I see is how the medical community approaches chronic health problems in the first place. As a scientist and engineer looking at the medical industry from the outside, it is somewhat baffling. Engineers just don’t look at problem solving the same way. When a scientist or engineering has a task to tackle, no goal short of the intended solution would represent an acceptable outcome and we would never simply throw our hands in the air and say “It is not our job” to deal with a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. Even if we had the best possible theoretical solution that worked well on paper, if we set out to apply the theory, and then got the opposite result, we would scrap it in a second and come up with a new solution that actually met the stated goal.

I sure wish the medical community approached our nations “healthcare” the way an electrical engineer approaches a task. If they didn’t, and instead sought solutions the way the medical community seeks solutions, you would not be reading this at all. You would still be waiting for Sarah, the operator of Mayberry, to patch you through.

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