Health care reform efforts have increasingly emphasized payment models that reward value (quality/cost). It seems appropriate, therefore, to examine what we value in health care, and that will require that we examine our definition of health. In spite of admonitions from the World Health Organization and others, our current health care system operates under the assumption that health represents the absence of health problems. While that perspective has led to incredible advances in medical science, it now may be adversely affecting value. Problem-oriented care is clearly one of the drivers of rising costs and it could be adversely affecting the quality of care, depending upon how quality is defined. If we redefined health in terms of patient-centered goals, health care could be focused more directly on meaningful outcomes, reducing the number of irrelevant tests and treatments. Greater emphasis would be placed on prevention, meaningful activities, advance directives and personal growth and development. The role of patients within clinician-patient relationships would be elevated, strengthening therapeutic relationships. Reframing health in terms of health-related goals and directing the health care system to help people achieve them, could both improve quality and reduce costs. In the process, it could also make health care less mechanical and more humane.
Mold, J. (2017). Goal-Directed Health Care: Redefining Health and Health Care in the Era of Value-Based Care. Cureus. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.1043