I absolutely love my career. I am so thankful for having the opportunity to connect with people on a daily basis on such an intimate level. When I have the opportunity to truly listen to a patient and help him/her solve his/her puzzle, I feel that I am in line with my life's purpose. Unfortunately, however, the current healthcare system has strained the doctor-patient relationship rather than strengthening it .
After medical school and residency I started practicing medicine but felt something was missing. Medical school barely mentioned things I felt vital to optimal health including healthy diet, exercise, stress management, sleep and healthy relationships. Instead I was learning which medications to prescribe for which disease and how they interact. There was little to no focus on how to prevent these diseases.
Practicing medicine to me felt just like it is worded, trying out medications to see what made the patient feel better and trying to decrease interactions and side effects. I felt there must be a better way. I started scouring books and attending conferences to educate myself on what I felt in my soul to be true, including topics such as food as medicine, exercise as medicine, the science of sleep, mind body medicine, and functional medicine. I also recognized that almost every one of my patients had emotional stressors significantly affecting his/her happiness and health. I feel stress management may be the most important part of health and wellness.
I started talking about lifestyle choices to my patients and quickly realized that most of my patients prefer these interventions over medications. I now screen all new patients with a questionnaire about diet, exercise, stress, sleep and relationships to see if any intervention is needed. I continue to learn about alternative treatment options in addition to my training in western medicine treatment options.
Discussing the root cause of illness and options for treatment takes time. The current healthcare system allows approximately 15 minutes to see a patient and write a detailed summary of this visit. The amount of time doctors can spend with patients is decreasing as the interpreted solution continues to be to add more and more employees to assist the doctor. In practice, these multiple layers lead to an extremely inefficient and frustrating system to work in as a physician and to navigate as a patient.
Therefore I started to research alternative healthcare models and began to learn that eliminating insurance companies from the doctor patient relationship seemed to solve almost every problem. Hundreds of other physicians have also decided to open direct primary care practices. The doctor patient relationship is preserved as less documentation is required, less staff is required to meet all of the insurance requirements, and pricing becomes transparent and predictable. With so much less overhead, I can decrease the number of patients I see, allowing me to spend more time with each patient. Also, with fewer layers to the system and less patients overall, patients can call, e-mail or text me directly and have nearly immediate answers rather than navigating a phone system and a complicated hierarchy of office staff. Patients can be seen the same day for acute issues and can schedule a 90 minute appointments when needed.
If you feel this model of healthcare would benefit you, please contact me. I can help answer any additional questions you may have.