In this microdose for the sole, we're zooming out and exploring the concept of disease care.
It’s no mystery that "developed" nations are facing a health crisis driven by chronic disease. In countries with the most advanced medical technology, humans are spending more money on care than ever before and they are also sicker than ever before. Something is very wrong and I believe the solution to this major issue rests upon the individual. We can all be part of the solution and it begins with awareness. My aspiration with this microdose is to improve awareness about the current disease care system and to stimulate better conversations about how we can all contribute towards building a healthier future, starting with our foot health.
It seems to me that what many people call health care today is actually disease care. I believe that our first step towards solving the disease problem is acknowledging that 1) there is in fact a big problem, and 2) the system of care we are implementing has everything to do with treating symptoms of disease and nothing to do with health.
Lets start with a few definitions:
Disease care: The diagnosis of disease and treatment of symptoms.
Health care: Education that helps people understand how to take better care of themselves by targeting and eliminating the root cause of disease.
To understand why treating symptoms of disease has become so pervasive and why true healthcare is so elusive, we simply need to look at financial incentives.
“Show me the incentive and I will show you the outcome”
- Charlie Munger
U believe the primary problem with our current disease care model is the financial incentives. So long as professionals and businesses are paid large amounts of money to treat the symptoms of disease, that is what they will focus on doing. As a disease care professional, you might have the best intentions to help people with their health but when you salary depends on you treating symptoms, that is what you will end up doing. Putting food on the table, keeping your business afloat, repaying student loans and paying your mortgage takes priority over doing the “right” thing.
Even more concerning than the financial incentives to treat symptoms is the lack of incentives that reward effectiveness as a health professional. Let me make this more tangible with a concrete example from my own life.
I’m formally trained as a physical therapist in Canada. I completed a 6 years of school to obtain a degree that offers me abundant employment opportunities paying a competitive salary. In school I learned how to identify disease, diagnose it (attach a fancy word to the problems), and treat the symptoms of those problems using outdated and relatively ineffective techniques. In school, I was trained to treat, not to help people heal themselves. In the workplace, I was incentivized to treat and financially dis-incentivized to help people heal themselves. Working in that system and being limited to treating symptoms ate away at my soul and left me physically, mentally and spiritually drained. I was overworked, under motivated and lacked a sense of meaning in my practice. I wanted to help people live healthier lives but as a therapist working within a disease care business model, I was limited to offering people short term relief when they came to see me. I quit practicing as a disease care professional in 2018 and chose instead to spend my time educating people about foot health and designing digital tools that could help people make changes. I quit disease care, focused on lower body health, and started exploring ways to make an income by empowering people with truthful, useful, applicable knowledge.
I’m not saying that disease care professionals are bad people, serve no purpose or should be avoided. I think for certain pathologies, disease care can be an important tool on the path to healing. Problems arise when disease care is misunderstood to be health care and viewed as the only path available. In a disease care system that treats symptoms without ever addressing the root cause of problems, people remain sick and increasingly dependent on external things to make them feel better.
To me, Sole Freedom is a health care company focused on the lower body. By providing access to natural footwear and high quality foot health education from our partners at The Foot Collective, we're helping people break free of disease care and empowering them to accept more responsibility in their health process. That is Health care and it’s why our team remains motivated to continue improving our customer experience and growing our business. We aren’t just selling shoes, we’re empowering people to Free their Soles from unnatural footwear and a reliance on external things (drugs, orthotics, professionals) to make them feel better.
Our long term aspiration is to educate disease care professionals and create incentives that align with health outcomes. If we can share a portion of our revenue with a physical therapist who recommends natural footwear to their patient, we can help them generate income by doing the right thing. The better they are at directing their patients and clients to wear shoes that support healthy feet, the more income they can make. Maybe that means they have more time to care for themselves, spend with their families or to deepen their understanding of health so they can be better advocates for the people who come to see them for help.
The academic and financial inertia of disease care is significant. Universities still teach outdated curriculums focused on the diagnosis & treatment of disease and business models today revolve around treating symptoms of disease.
Instead of trying to fight this inertia, change begins with each of us accepting more responsibility for our well being. By reclaiming agency in our own health and well being, we become capable of shifting the conversation from disease to health. By wearing natural footwear, we eliminate the primary cause of foot problems (unnatural footwear) and reduce our reliance on the disease care industry as it relates to feet (surgery, orthotics, drugs).
It’s time to start replacing incentives to treat with incentives to help people improve their health. At Sole Freedom we’re starting with feet and want to be part of the solution. That begins with identifying the problems with disease care and creating new incentives for professionals who want to do the right thing without sacrificing their ability to make an income.
The reality is that everyone wears footwear and 99% of people are purchasing unnatural shoes that are damaging their feet. As a doctor, personal trainer, massage therapist, physical therapist, chiropractor, naturopath, or coach, you have the opportunity to help your clients and patients switch to footwear that helps them heal their feet and mitigates the risk of future pain and injury. Our aim at Sole Freedom is to create a place where you can send patients and clients and trust that they will be taken care of.
If you found this article helpful, please share it. Share it with anyone you know that works in disease care or is caught in the loop of getting their symptoms treated without ever understanding how to eliminate the cause of their problem.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for supporting our work at Sole Freedom and thanks for taking care of yourself starting with your feet.
Next weeks Microdose for the Sole topic: Health care
Wishing you lots of Love and great week