Medicine is fast paced, but the majority of conditions treated in hospitals are chronic. This mismatch can leave patients overwhelmed by their experience with physicians. This can also lead to physicians being frustrated by the time limits that they are expected to meet to adequately educate and treat patients.
There is a simple solution to this problem. Medicine can offer programs to patients with similar concerns that are organized into a class. This is not a new concept. Ornish Lifestyle Medicine was started two decades ago to specifically help patients with cardiovascular disease. Dean Ornish, MD, the founder of the program held strong to his belief that complex heart disease could be reversed with a program of nutrition, exercise, mindfulness, and social support. To date his rehabilitation program has proven to be three times more effective than traditional medical care that is not organized in an easy to use format. Medical insurance has taken notice of this fact and now covers the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program.
What other problems can be solved with organized medical programs? This is where health care organizations need to focus. There are three essential criteria that must be met with the formation of such a program. First, the program must group patients with a similar problem so that all patients can learn form their individual and their shared experience. Second, the program must address the problem with a comprehensive treatment that will restore health. Third, and most importantly, the program must educate patients on the cause of the disease and train them to be self-reliant in preventing future suffering.
Take the example of trauma due to poor balance. Falls occur every 13 seconds in the US and cost over $30 billion dollars in the US per year with consequences ranging from fractures to death. An emergency room visit for a fall will cost at least $4000 and a hospitalization due to a fall will cost $35,000 on average. Balance can be trained, but this type of training takes time. It is not the kind of education that is learned in a book. It is the kind of education that is learned by practicing with guidance. It can not be forced into a 15-minute doctor appointment or a few visits with a physical therapist.
The solutions for the complex problems within medicine are in reach. We just need to organize and be proactive in our delivery of health care.
Starting in 2018 Balance and Fall Prevention Courses will be offered monthly at the Osteopathic Center San Diego. To register visit www.DrMignosa.com.