The writing’s on the wall. The last few decades have seen two groups of people:
One group that is “dying longer,” yes some might call it living long but not healthy. (As a physician, I call it dying longer). These are folks who are disabled, obese or emaciated and depressed or demented, with multiple medical issues spending a quarter of their life in the medical system, and the last decade of life in a long-term care facility.
Everyone knows someone in the family who is taking multiple medications and is still sick and needs care.
The other group has people whose symptoms similar to their sick family members but want to resist going down the same path of chronic illness with multiple medications. Since the traditional system seems to offer nothing beyond a pill for every ill, these folks are seeking alternative healing paths.
Why are they not using the constantly advancing medical system? It is because medical system is making advances in leaps and bounds on diagnoses and management of diseases with AI (artificial intelligence). What they are failing to see is people do not want to have the next best treatment or the greatest new drug. They simply want to feel and be well with no medications or have complete resolution of their symptoms.
Here comes the total disconnect: A system that is creating newer tests and drugs and a clientele that is interested in a partnership and cure and not a patriarchal dispensing of drugs.
This has created a new group of “healers” who have taken to the social media and the web with personal experience of healing themselves as the only qualification needed to become an “alternative health care provider.”
How did this shift happen? Why did this shift happen?
The shift was slow and steady, and now it has exploded (reaching that critical mass). Everywhere you turn, there are several online courses to help you finding healing opportunities. Courses that help you heal your thyroid. Courses and providers who help you heal your metabolism and your gut. Businessmen, actors, activists, who have created apps and tests to address your true weight gain issues, hormone issues, autoimmune issues — the list is endless. Not only are they providing what the public is looking for they are also creating this distrust in the current medical system.
As with everything else that starts off with a noble cause like climate change, like animal rights, like alternative energy, seeking great health is a valid cause, but is now being monetized by everyone. And when people are desperate they will find themselves spending a lot of money and taking a lot of ill-advised treatment till they find the right solution or they actually harm themselves in the process, and become skeptical of the whole system.
The shift happened because the medical system is behind in times. It is not held to other service industry standards where the client’s’ voice is heard.
I do not believe clients want cable TV in their hospital room. They do not want their powdered scrambled eggs on a platter, for breakfast. They simply want to feel well. They want results not another surgery or pill for their sickness. They are tired of being tired and ill. They are tired of taking another medication or adding another supplement to their armamentarium.
On the other hand, today’s medical world is considered a great place to stay employed for a long time. It costs 16 to 19 percent of our GDP and yet the outcomes are a growing list of chronic medical conditions with rising costs and insurance premiums with no end in sight. Our development is trying to put the care into the hands of the patients using apps, artificial intelligence and the growing field of telemedicine where we are educating people that their care is a click away. We are educating people to look for sickness and quick relief of symptoms when they are seeking permanent wellness.
So how do we sort through this dynamic shift?
The medical schooling needs to change. We need to embrace the need to understand how and why the body shows symptoms not simply identify and suppress this instantaneously with a drug that can only potentially cause another problem.
Hospital profitability needs to change. When a hospital’s’ profit is tied to full beds (healthy people do not occupy hospital beds), we will be promoting illness, not wellness. Hospitals should be fewer, and most of the hospitals should become healing sanctuaries where people are admitted initially for acute care they need and then transferred to the sanctuary part, where they address the root cause of illness. Here, they should educate and engage the patient in change in lifestyle, addressing stressors and the outcome being getting the body back to health.
This would be the best of both worlds where the provider is educated in the art of true healing and the study of the science of disease.
The medical industry is riddled with contradiction. We are trying to “cut medical costs” by getting mid-level providers to provide early detection and not true prevention( primary care), we are trying to emasculate the image of a physician by making them data collectors and with increasing regulations, in the name of efficiency(standard guidelines and EMR). We also promote the newer drugs and more expensive testing and surgeries. The medical associations are living off the support of “Big Pharma” that thrives off of illness.
So what do we really want? What business are we truly in and who is our ideal client?
This should be our food for thought.
Nisha Chellam Vedamuthu is an internal medicine physician and can be reached at MedFix PC.
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