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by Yaneer Bar-Yam
Step I: Separate Simple Care
Places where healthy people normally go, and that are designed to serve large numbers of people, are perfect places for preventive medicine clinics.

What can be done? The solution is to separate the tasks. Let doctors perform the complex tasks that they do well, and delegate preventive-care tasks such as vaccinations to an organization suited for simple, repetitive tasks.

In many hospitals and doctors’ offices, simpler tasks such as drawing blood and taking x-rays are performed by professionals trained for these specific, frequent tasks. This idea can be applied much more broadly.

We can improve the healthcare system dramatically by separating the simple services that many healthy people need even further, delegating them not just to different individuals but to different organizations.

We are beginning to see this concept in programs that make flu shots available in supermarkets and airports, and in the growing number of “retail clinics.”

Since retail outlets at malls and supermarkets serve many people with similar needs, “retail clinics” make sense; they can readily provide routine and preventive care such as health screenings, vaccinations, and dissemination of public health information. These clinics have the additional advantage of locating preventive services where healthy people frequently go, rather than requiring them to make less convenient trips to their physician’s office.

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