The second major improvement requires revisiting the business model of medicine. Professor Christensen of Harvard Business School taught me on a show recently that two primary models exist for any business (excluding networking businesses). "Solution shops" offer intuitive insights into unpredictable ailments, something doctors (and lawyers) are superb at addressing.
On the other hand, value-adding processes like building cars in an assembly line or managing correctly diagnosed diabetes with a specific plan for chronic management are far less expensive than solution shops and usually are more effective in offering reproducible results. In America, we lump these fundamentally different approaches together so we get highly trained doctors using sophisticated approaches to manage tasks that could often be better accomplished by other well-trained health professionals who actually like double-checking that you took your medications and watched your diet.
We speak of prevention a lot these days, but what does prevention mean? I moderated the last White House Town Hall on Health and came away from the experience understanding that America believes "prevention" is really about making the right thing easy to do. This includes everything from making healthy locally grown vegetables easy to find, bike racks available in our work places and a healthcare system that provides a crutch to remind us that we forgot our colonoscopy. We cannot look to Washington for these changes without engaging the battle ourselves.
I am transitioning from being a full-time doc to hosting The Dr. Oz Show because of a civic responsibility that all professionals have to speak out on issues that affect our communities. We are the ballast that steadies the ship of society heading into the troubled waters of health care reform. I am moving from an operating theatre to a television studio to affect this change, but we will only succeed if a willing audience of activist citizens follows and serves their fellow man by making the right health decisions easier to make.