When we think about the healthcare industry, whether during a pandemic or not, our first thought ought to be about our patients — how to best treat them, serve them, and care for them.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case because our healthcare system isn’t built to optimally serve the very people it’s meant to protect.

If you’ve ever had to seek medical attention for you or a loved one, you might have experienced this firsthand. The success of our healthcare system is often measured by high-profit margins, not quality of care. The cost of receiving care has consistently been on the rise for decades, increasing at a greater rate than even inflation and the U.S. economy. Healthcare costs as part of GDP are close to 18 percent, which has more than doubled since the 1980s when health insurance wasn’t as much of an issue. Those medical costs put Americans’ lives at risk.

Yes, there are plenty of ethical organizations and providers who prioritize the wellbeing of patients and residents under the current healthcare system. However, a system that prioritizes the quality of care — rather than the number of patients seen — will much better align our incentives with the outcomes we want across the industry.

Value-based care takes a more holistic view of patient health and services than a fee-for-service model. When the goal is to provide the best care possible, all areas of an organization are aligned to meet that goal, from the arrangement of their waiting room to their ongoing staff education model. The patient experience becomes more important than how quickly a doctor’s office can fill their schedule and churn out patients.

Importantly, under value-based care, a preventative approach to healthcare becomes part of the conversation where it wasn’t before. Our current healthcare system is only really necessary when you are sick or hurt, but value-based care promotes wellness year-round. Some examples of ongoing initiatives could include delivering vaccines to someone’s home or chronic management services, like constantly checking in with a diebetic patient to make sure their blood sugar levels remain stable.

This is why we must shift from volume-based care to value-based care. Finally, we’re starting to hear more healthcare executives and providers advocating for change — it was even the topic of conversation at last year’s World Health Care Congress event that took place in Washington, D.C. Leaders from various subspecialties are coming together to break down the barriers presented under the current healthcare landscape in order to establish a more accessible, affordable system.

Quality in the healthcare industry has suffered for far too long. As a result, widespread adoption of value-based care will require many changes that are both expensive and complex. It might be some time until value-based care is the standard, but the landscape is finally starting to course correct for the better. It’s no longer a choice, but the future of healthcare in the United States.

Healthcare services should be more accessible to all Americans. Healthcare costs should be lowered so that everyone, especially those with chronic health conditions, get the care they need. The U.S. population should be healthier. Currently, half of Americans don’t have access to essential, life-saving services and around 34 million people know someone who has died from not being able to afford critical medical attention.

At Philosophy Care, our mission has always been providing the best care possible, no matter what. Under a value-based care model, we can more adequately ensure that the same level of care will extend across the nation and beyond.