Considering how tightly intertwined our Medical Providers, Pharmaceutical Companies, and Insurance Providers are financially, infra-structurally, socially, culturally and paradigmatically, I thought it might be worth flagging up the launching of “Open Payments.” Open Payments is a database and website to help increase transparency of these complex inter-relations – which often come in the form of payments and gifts to doctors by the pharmaceutical industry.
“Sometimes, doctors and hospitals have financial relationships with health care manufacturing companies. These relationships can include money for research activities, gifts, speaking fees, meals, or travel. The Social Security Act requires CMS to collect information from applicable manufacturers and group purchasing organizations (GPOs) in order to report information about their financial relationships with physicians and hospitals. Open Payments is the federally run program that collects the information about these financial relationships and makes it available to you.”
I’m not going to get mired in exploring the complexity of the Medical-Pharmaceutical Complex, and its impact on the quality of health-care worldwide, or the strengths and weaknesses of this particular step in addressing the problem(s). I simply want to flag this up as an important remedial step at improving the “horizontal” functioning of a rather broken health-care system. Thank You!
To stimulate a little thought I would suggest that what ultimately is needed is a different paradigm for medicine and economics altogether. Reshuffling the pieces into a better configuration is not enough we need outright transformation. What we need is a transformation into a new meta-pardigm that takes an integral perspective. One that allows for the coordination of the manifold perspectives (paradigms) on health and wellness in a coherent way resulting in a truly synergistic integration of different modalities (psycholotherapy, biomedicine, nutrition, herbal medicine, body work, energy healing, acupuncture…). We need an understanding that is truly holistic – seeing the individual (mind, body, soul and spirit) and illness (its psychological, physiological, sociological, and cultural components) within the context of their natural and socio-economic environment.
I recently read an article about pharmaceuticals being found in water used for growing vegetables. The study was attempting to determine how much pharmaceuticals were absorbed by the plants and made it, via the fruit, into the bodies of human consumers. I think any system purporting to provide “health care” to individuals would be inherently interested in understanding the wider impact that our current biomedical (and economic) model, with its reliance on pharmaceuticals, has upon our environment. We are coherently coupled to that environment; what goes into me (pharmaceutical of choice) will go into the environment (pharmaceuticals make it through waste-water treatment) and what goes into the environment (pharmaceuticals that I have excreted, that have been disposed of improperly, or that are waste products of pharmaceutical manufacture) will ultimately end up in me when I drink the water or eat the tomatoes. So the responsibility lies with all of us to be aware of our inter-connectedness, not to see ourselves and our environment, our industry and our health, our health and the ecosystem , our industry and the ecosystem, as inherently separate. Such an integral and holistic perspective on health is a key component to the transformations required of our health-care “industry,” and of our economic systems in general if we are to solve our current challenges (crises) of individual and ecological health.
All the above is part of the reason why I find great satisfaction in using and recommending herbal products that have been grown organically, fair-trade sourced, and responsibly manufactured and packaged. This is another important step in the right direction. Just as importantly by teaching individuals perspectives and skills that increase emotional awareness and self-regulation (such as HeartMath and meditation) the impact goes beyond possible alleviation of individual stress and reducing its impact on mental and physical health, spreading to interpersonal relationships and increased awareness of the mutuality of cause-and-effect between the individual and their environment.
The idea of transparency might be expanded to seeing beyond the surface of our behaviours, attitudes, emotions, motivations, at all levels from the individual to the systems we are embedded in (environmental, political, socioeconomic, cultural…). Ultimately transparency is about greater awareness of patterns and interconnections (in all four quadrants and all aspects of AQAL). Awareness is the first key step, necessary but not sufficient; action, healing, change, growth, and transformation must always follow.
What else can we, and what else can you, do?