Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Care for your health

This week the Dutch Council for Public Health and Health Care published its report called Care for your Health: Behaviour and health; the new regulation. The report starts with a quote from a Bob Dylan song: "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows"; the Council thus claims that they just report the obvious. In this report the council argues that the health care in the Netherlands should really shift its focus and organisation from 'care and disease' (in Dutch 'Zorg en ziekte', zz) to 'behaviour and health' (in Dutch 'gedrag en gezondheid', gg). The council states that important trends, such as:
1. Health care consumers who seek optimal health instead of care for disease
2. These consumers are not passive care consumers as such but are actors, taking responsibility for their own health and (preventive) health care.
3. Chronic diseases and multi-morbidity will more and more shape the health care arena, asking for a stringer focus on primary, secondary and tertiary prevention
4. Health behaviour, including lifestyle behaviours are of utmost importance in prevention, treatment as well as in rehabilitation and disease management.
These trends have not yet been incorporated in the way health care is organised, financed and insured in the Netherlands. The Council states that the whole health care system should be much more focussed on forward thinking aimed at prevention, early detection, and pro-action instead of treatment when disease is apparent, with a much stronger and more important role for preventive and primary health care.