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Healthcare Overload Drowns Out The Patient Voice

Today’s healthcare industrial complex seems increasingly mismatched to the kinds of personalized, participatory medicine so many institutions, (exeptions to a unique few), claim to champion in their marketing materials and listed values. In reality, a dangerous imbalance persists – while medicine congratulates itself on patient-centered lip service, it continues prioritizing profit-driven business models and patented interventions over equitable collaboration.

Driving this disconnect is a fundamentally overloaded system lacking structural supports and incentives for relationship-based care. The average primary care visit now lasts under 12 minutes, with physicians cramming in 4-5 patients per hour and facing relentless quotas from administrators. Clinicians report drowning under unsustainable paperwork and charting burdens detracting from real care. Patients feel dismissed and invalidated when not truly seen or heard.

According to Dr. Victoria Sweet, author of God’s Hotel, "Medicine has become a business like any other business, but the body isn't a widget factory." In the churn of turning patients into revenue steam, individual needs get lost. Standardized protocols flourish while personal histories fall by the wayside. And we wonder why trust in the system deteriorates –over 75% of Americans remain dissatisfied with healthcare overall.

Reclaiming medicine’s soul requires structural change prioritizing humanity over hustle. Various models offer paths forward – community health workers bridging cultural gaps, peer support networks providing lived wisdom, integrative practices like meditation and nature therapy reconnecting clinicians to purpose and meaning. But greed seems to be outpacing moral awakening.

The poet Wendell Berry writes, “Only by restoring the broken connections can we be healed.” Healthcare talks of participatory inclusion while doubling down on business as usual fragmentation. We must demand that actions match words by recentering relationships and help reweave our common fabric. For in the face of fear and despair, it is only by joining together that we walk on.

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