Third Curve of Health Care

In Dr Harold Paz’s thought-provoking essay “Academic Medicine’s Critical Role in the “Third Curve” of Health Care [Academic 91:613, 2016], he noted the shift from a physician-centric to a patient-centric paradigm that optimizes health and wellness to create more healthy days for more patients. This shift addresses the rising costs of health care, drives quality, and offers new and innovative forms of access by creating a holistic wellness experience for patients. It engages all five determinants of health, e.g., 1) lifestyle, 2) quality care, 3) environment, 4) supportive relationships, and 5) genetics/heredity.to offer the value proposition of improved care. As quickly as health care has moved from Curve I (fee-for-service) to Curve II (population health), Paz indicates that there is a growing switch to a new form of consumer-directed health care, or the “third curve of health care (Curve III).”

While the first two curves look at health from a provider and business perspective, the third curve places the individual in the center of a health ecosystem. New resources and tools will enable each individual to take more ownership and hopefully become more likely to adhere to care plans, as well as more empowered to take charge of his or her well-being. These new tools and resources, such as mobile apps, telemedicine, home health care and wellness innovations, urgent care centers, and other technologies should improve patient health. In this context, the Gentle Jogger®, an innovative, wellness device is poised to play a major role as an aid to a healthy lifestyle by limiting physical inactivity.

By 2025, there will be a shortage of 90,000 physicians. While shortages generally predict increased demand, Paz believes that in Curve III things could take a different turn. Nature abhors a vacuum, and inevitably new solutions to the shortage will emerge, from new technologies to a broadened scope of practice across the health professions. This will give rise to the development of new pathways to improve health, further accelerating the move to a more patient-centric ecosystem. If the old physician-centered model of health care is in transition, and the impact of technology and analytics is growing, future health care practitioners need to embrace this change and function effectively in the world of consumer-driven health and wellness care.

Sit or lie down and still reap the health benefits.

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