Broken Window #1: Disempowerment
In many cases, patients are disempowered by the imbalance between what they and providers wear, say, and do. Physicians wear white coats; the longer the coat, the more powerful they are. Patients wear gowns that disempower, humiliate, and create a sense of vulnerability. Waiting rooms demonstrate a lack of respect for the value of patients’ time. Lack of access to information about cost and quality often makes proactive patient engagement impossible. The disempowerment of patients in the health care system creates downstream inefficiencies in care, and must be remediated.
Broken Window #2: Promotion of services over well-being
Language and actions pervasive in the health care system communicate that the delivery of services is valued over the promotion of health. Frequently, a patient’s first interaction with the health care system is focused on money and record-keeping, not on health or well-being. The system drives relentlessly to see patients in volume and to move them in and out as quickly as possible. When survival of administrative infrastructure trumps health, the perverse incentives become self-perpetuating.
Broken Window #3: Rankism
Through practice and policy, the nation sends the message that some people’s needs matter less. Individuals suffering from certain conditions challenge the current system’s ability to provide care, and its ability to access whole communities is limited. There is background noise: culture and politics dictate that certain conditions or groups receive superior care. The Women of Impact want to begin the social conversation about whether health care is a right or a privilege, and what responsibility patients bear.