A new approach may be the key to improving the United States life expectancy rates. Annually, the U.S. spends more on healthcare than any other country, and yet the average life expectancy of an American falls short compared to many other high-income countries. The findings come from researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, who suggested a new approach to help aid in the United States health disadvantages.
Lead author of the study, Julie Kapp, said, “Our country’s inability to define, monitor and improve on preventable deaths has complicated our progress in managing the health of our communities and population. This goes beyond collective impact. A national systems-thinking approach could be a step in the right direction toward improving the health and health care of the U.S. population.”
Improving Life Expectancy
The new approach takes into consideration how components with larger structures operate and interact, and how to optimize the design, implementation, and evaluation of the design. This approach can be used to target many health concerns including obesity, infant mortality, and differences among elder care. The long-term goal of the approach is to improve quality of life alongside longevity.
Kapp added, “We consider U.S. population health a supra-system, which means it contains many subsystems at federal, state and local levels. This approach requires all health and health care organizations to share metrics.”
The approach can be implemented by offering incentives to healthcare organizations if they agree to use the shared measuring system. Community-based non-profits are also encouraged to use the shared outcomes-focused metrics when applying for federal accreditation.
Kapp explained, “To improve the effectiveness of how community-based organizations address health and health-related issues, we must change their funding requirements. Changing their funding requirements on a broad scale requires change at the federal level. Therefore, a systems approach is required.”
The suggestions are intended to be a theoretical framework to implement a systems-thinking approach to Americans health. Kapp acknowledges that the approach may take many years to be implemented and take effect.
Kapp recognizes that that the current approach to health and healthcare does not prevent death after 100 years, and that the system cannot consider an aligned or integrated system as a means of improving health outcomes.
“New approach may be key to improving US population health,” Eureka Alert web site, https://eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-10/uom-nam101116.php, last accessed October 12, 2016.
“New approach may be key to improving U.S. population health,” University of Missouri School of Medicine web site, http://medicine.missouri.edu/news/20161010-new-approach-may-be-key.php, last accessed October 12, 2016.