System for Health: An Organizational and Cultural Change

  • Lieutenant Colonel Teresa L. Brininger

Army Medicine, to combat the rising cost of health care, the increasing rate of preventable diseases, and the diminishing pool of eligible military recruits due to health related issues, is transforming from a health care system to a System for Health. The focus is shifting from a disease-based model to a preventive model of care. Although Army Medicine is changing practices and implementing health-focused initiatives to facilitate this paradigm shift, barriers inherent in the organization remain and are hindering the transformation process. Institutionalizing this new paradigm requires eliminating the cultural, economic, and educational barriers by providing tools and appropriate resources, implementing methods for promoting healthy lifestyles, and leveraging education, research, and technology. Transforming Army Medicine from a health care system to a System for Health has the potential to positively influence Army Medicine, the Military Health System, and ultimately shape health care in the nation.