Creating Social Value Blog / Corporate Social Relevance

A Prescription for the Nation’s Health? Yep, a Dose of ET&A

By Nate Garvis, Social Innovation Fellow at The Lewis Institute and Founder of Naked Civics, LLC.

Ask just about any doctor out there and they will tell you that somewhere around 80 percent of your healthcare outcome occurs from elements that happen outside of their office. In other words, our nation’s progress on a healthier path is hugely dependent on non-medically centric activities. Seems simple, right? But we all know that this is hardly the case.

We all know our current healthcare system, like so many large systems, is less than perfect. There’s a lot of dialogue about what the future of healthcare looks like, and how we can better our system. To me it boils down to one core change: Treat health and wellness through designs that produce overarching lifestyles that emphasize preventative care. Again, sounds simple but here’s the rub: our healthcare institutions, including the underlying business model, were built around a mindset that is primarily reactive rather than preventative. And that’s where ET&A can come in.

For much of our society, but especially our medical community, this is radically new uncharted territory. Not only are we going to need to embrace new designs that engage us in new habits of thinking and acting into healthier lifestyles, but we’re going to have to come up with business models that point to new ways to monetize the act of keeping people healthy rather than just making money in the body repair business.

It’s not a change that will happen overnight, but we are most definitely seeing offerings that promise this kind of health habitat. Look to every tech like a Nike Fuel band that tracks your activities throughout the day. Notice the growth of bike transit and stairwells in buildings that look like people actually belong in them outside of a fire drill. Or bask in the elegance of hospice offerings that allow people to die in comfort and dignity that is far too often absent. .

Want to check out some more ideas that spell health culture in addition to medical compliance? Check out this crowd sourced competition, the Target Simplicity Challenge. The long story short is that we’re going to need a lot more ideas and be open to more places where they can come from. And, of course, in order to turn good ideas in to smart actions, a solid business plan with an entrepreneurial tool belt is a necessary part of the package.

It’s one thing to say that we need to change our health care attitudes and activities. But it’s another thing altogether when you pair that truthful statement of dislocating our old designs with ideas that that relocate us into a better place. We’re going to have to get much more entrepreneurial in how we approach these challenges and pairing powerful ideation with solid business modeling just might be the key.