Tag Archives: reform

A New Kind of Old

Does your doctor prescribe medications for your symptoms after 5 to 10 minutes of face time?

What is the proper role of medications in health? By CDC [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
If so your doctor may be under the gun to see more patients and to increase productivity.  Does your doctor  resort mostly to medications for treating your health problems?   Chances are that this approach to health care will take you down a slow spiral to perpetual chronic illness.

However, a new kind of medical practice may be on the horizon.  In the 2012 documentary “Escape Fire”, Dr.  Erin Martin described how she left conventional medicine after facing an onslaught of patients that she was never given enough time to truly help.

Reimbursement in the conventional setting was strictly based on the numbers of patients treated and was not tied to how successful the treatment was.  This meant that patients were part of a revolving door system where they kept coming back for the same or related problems because the root cause of their problems were never dealt with.

According to her recent blog post, Dr.  Martin left her conventional practice in 2011 and completed a 2 year fellowship in Integrative Medicine with Andrew Weil.  She followed this with a 2 year program in functional medicine.   Now she has a practice in Hood River, OR named TrueMed Institute that she claims allows her to provide true healing to her patients.

Integrative medicine combines medical traditions such as conventional medicine, Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Naturopathy, Ayurvedic Medicine, Homeopathy, and Functional Medicine, just to name a few.  As described on Dr. Martin’s website:

“Functional medicine looks to get to the “root cause” of illness, looking “upstream” to consider the complex web of interactions in one’s history, physiology, and lifestyle that can lead to illness.”

This “root cause” approach is also at the heart of the OnTierraHealth Technology’s quest for health.   And we believe that in many cases the root cause will be traceable back to the non-organic methods that are being used in the conventional farming that expose us to too many pesticides, and herbicides.

This means that if we truly value our health we will need to carefully track both  the manner in which our food is grown, and the origin of the seeds (GMO’s may be implicated in cancer according to the documentary film GMO OMG).

The Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Foundation / New Haven Farms Initiative now has 7 organic farms in New Haven, CT that are used to provide free 20 week educational courses to patients that are dealing with chronic illnesses such as type II diabetes and arthritis. These organic farming courses are intended to increase the health consciousness of the community and to empower individuals to play a greater role in improving their own health.

So it seems that our “new kind of medicine” is very likely to take us full circle,  to a time when people knew exactly where their food was grown, by whom and from which seeds.  Once again we will take the words of Hippocrates to heart, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine by thy food.”

One thing is for sure, there will be exciting times ahead for modern-day health detectives who are interested in tracking health to its roots!  Now may be the time for each of us to learn more about integrative medicine and growing our own healthy organic foods.

Revolutionary Thinking for the Future of Health Care

In a new post on the thehealthcareblog.com author John Haughom, MD states “There is an urgent need for clinicians to step up, lead the debate and design a new future for health care. ”  I agree with his analysis that, “health problems related to lifestyle, such as obesity, smoking, substance abuse and diabetes will not be solved by more hospitals but rather through access to primary care physicians, innovations in public health, and lessons from the emerging discipline of behavioral modification.”

In particular I like the emphasis on “the emerging discipline of behavior modification”.   However, this behavior modification must be applied not only to patients, but to doctors as well in order for a true revolution in health care to begin to blossom.  In this day and age doctors still often see themselves as only knowing how to treat disease, and often feel there is not much they can do to help the patient improve their health unless they are already sick.

This state of affairs comes back to the financial incentive model of medical care.   Will it be possible to create a model of health care in which doctors can profit from assisting “healthy” people to become healthier.

Just as every variable also has a derivative (i.e. rate of change), the same is so with our health.  The individual health index and health derivative should be calculated and we should determine if we are healthy and getting healthier or healthy and getting sicker.   It is important to know our health derivative before the doctor actually detects a treatable sickness if at all possible.  We need a truly revolutionary model for the future of health care that places the physician in forefront of improving health, while of course retaining their position at the forefront of treating disease.   But will doctors be able to morph into this new role?   What do you think?