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To Your Health: NLM update Transcript

Will and vital medical directions: 05/22/2017

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Greetings from the National Library of Medicine and MedlinePlus.gov

Regards to all our listeners!

I'm Rob Logan, Ph.D., senior staff, U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Here is what's new this week in To Your Health - a consumer health oriented podcast from NLM - that helps you use MedlinePlus to follow up on weekly topics.

The conditions to make significant progress in medical care, as recommended in the National Academy of Medicine's Vital Directions report, first depends on a national will to change the health care delivery system, finds an insightful editorial recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Don Berwick M.D. the former acting director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, praises the National Academy of Medicine's comprehensive Vital Directions report, that outlines an array of changes which are needed to improve the U.S. health care delivery system.

The Vital Directions report reflects the bipartisan efforts of more than 150 medical care experts who commissioned 19 papers. The report provides a series of policy and infrastructure development recommendations to improve medical care and reduce costs.

Among the Vital Directions report's recommendations are: to support the integration of health and social services in clinical care; as well as empower Americans with better health literacy, telehealth, data access, and attention to the health-related goals of individuals. The report additionally suggests a need to integrate health information systems and activate communities to strengthen public health and social care support, especially for vulnerable populations. A summary of the Vital Directions report is available without charge on JAMA's website.

Berwick finds (and we quote): 'This report offers a template for change broad and inclusive enough for it to be a charter for coherent and effective system redesign' (end of quote).

Yet despite the report's comprehensive scope and insights, Berwick explains the future of its recommendations depend first on a national will to revitalize the health care system. Berwick writes (and we quote): 'The devil is in the culture. It is all about will' (end of quote).

Specifically, Berwick asks four questions that he believes need to be addressed affirmatively before the suggested initiatives in the Vital Directions report can occur.

Berwick asks (and we quote):

'Does this nation commit to basic health care as a human right, denied to no one?

Does this nation commit to improving continually the health of communities by addressing prevention and the social determinants of health?

Does this nation commit to reducing the costs of its health care by eliminating wastes in all forms, and not by harming either care or health?

Does this nation commit to navigating to these aims using science, evidence, and learning, not doctrine, as its guide?' (end of quote).

Berwick adds only social solidarity regarding these overarching aims can overcome the resistance that has been placed in the path of comprehensive health care reform in recent years.

Berwick concludes that the will to build the nation's highway system in the 1950s and to go to the moon in the 1960s similarly need to infuse efforts to revitalize the health care delivery system within the first quarter of the 21st century.

Otherwise, the plans Dr. Berwick formerly administered (Medicare and Medicaid) remain the most comprehensive, public health care programs available to Americans. Fittingly, both Medicaid and Medicare have separate health topic pages within MedlinePlus.gov, as does health insurance. For example, two websites from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid explain what each cover as well as your benefits within the 'start here' section of MedlinePlus.gov's Medicare health topic page.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid also provide information about hospice, rural health, and medical special needs plans within separate websites that are accessible within the 'related issues' section of MedlinePlus.gov's Medicare health topic page.

MedlinePlus.gov's Medicare health topic page additionally provides links to the latest pertinent journal research articles, which are available in the 'journal articles' section. You can sign up to receive updates about Medicare as they become available on MedlinePlus.gov.

To find MedlinePlus.gov's Medicare health topic page, please type 'Medicare' in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov's home page, then, click on 'Medicare (National Library of Medicine).' MedlinePlus.gov's health topic pages devoted to Medicaid and health insurance can be accessed similarly.

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A disclaimer — the information presented in this program should not replace the medical advice of your physician. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease without first consulting with your physician or other health care provider.

It was nice to be with you! Please join us here next week and here's to your health!