Stressed as you are these days, you may, on occasion, scan the local media for signs that someone is actually doing something to alleviate the short-term, or to prevent the long-term suffering that your home-town is undergoing.  And, added to the burdens of dealing with an already sick medical-care system, this current crisis may seem quite unbearable to you.

But, rest assured.  The very same initiative, THRIVE, of which I have been writing for more than a year, offers a framework and a comprehensive plan for getting the economy and the medical community on a path to a brighter future, even through the pandemic.  It is the very same plan that was developed for “Transforming Health in a Thriving Economy,” though recently modified, to place greater priority and emphasis on items of greatest need in these challenging times.    

So then, the next time you find yourself frustrated beyond reason over one of the following impediments to the care of a patient, or to your practice of Medicine in general, instead of throwing up your hands in despair and crying: “Why doesn’t somebody do something about this,” you may want to read on:

  • Information Black Holes.  You know this one well.  Your patient has recently been to the ER or had a test at another institution, but there’s no way you’ll ever get the reports quickly enough to help you make a clinical decision in the here-and-now.  THRIVE, aligned with national initiatives and regional partners, aims to make sure information is more easily available in real time and that information technology is working for us all, including patients.
  • Your patient in the hospital got the wrong medicine, wrong treatment, wrong test…take your pick.  We know that about 360 hospital error-related deaths occur each year in our region. Anyway you look at this, it must end.  The THRIVE Patient Safety Task Force composed of leaders of the regional health systems aims to reduce the number to zero.
  • Doctors are Burning Out.  Maybe you.  Maybe your colleague.  Why isn’t anybody paying attention?  Society should never accept a casualty rate amongst the heroes (that’s us) who work to heal the sick.  THRIVE places a priority on provider burnout and resilience.  With regional partners, THRIVE aims to use assessments including surveys of doctors working within organizations and then explore system changes with expert resources shared with practices so that they can improve the working conditions of their doctors.  About time. 
  • What’s with all this competition between hospitals, healthcare systems, providers up and down the scale?  The endless advertisements everywhere?  What a waste!  THRIVE will focus on reducing duplication of efforts, especially in hospitals and in medical education.  University and Health Systems should be working together to provide efficient health care!
  • Why doesn’t anybody do preventive healthcare anymore?  THRIVE has plans for revived screening and treatment programs for depression, suicide, opiate addiction, and anxiety.
  • Whatever happened to Public Health?  THRIVE aims to improve the basic health and welfare of our community starting with prenatal and parenting classes; then on to nurse home visits, moving to support for at-risk youth; on to job training; then financial literacy training; even to nutritional training and transportation improvements so that everyone has access to well-paying job opportunities!

A healthier community; medically, psychologically, economically…it’s what we all want.  It’s what we all need.

Although this seems like a lot, it is actually just a part of THRIVE’s plans.  There’s more, much more.  Tune in next time.