Your doctor’s diagnostic 55% blind spot and how it has contributed to the United States high healthcare costs.
By William D. Charschan DC, CCSP,
Author : Cheating Mother Nature, what you need to know to beat chronic pain
One of the huge drivers of health care costs in the United States is the over reliance on testing and the procedures that follow through specialist referral. Allopathic medicine, the most dominant form of health care in the United States believes that we need to classify groups of symptoms as conditions, and then treat the symptoms, while convincing the public these are diseases that affect us all. This is also the pharmaceutical model, which is why Allopathic medicine and big pharma are so closely entwined.
A huge part of the problem in the allopathic health model was minimized years ago when doctors spent more time with their patients, and were able to help them figure out their problems by speaking with them and asking the right questions. Often, this time paid off handsomely with an allopathic solution which relieved the persons ailment, yet at other times, the symptoms were relieved but the problems came back in other ways because the true source of the original condition was never uncovered. This is largely due to the lack of training most medical providers have in the musculoskeletal system, which comprises 55% of the body and through the fascia and nervous system, interfaces with the different organs.
To further complicate the art of allopathy, people, no matter how they are built and what gene pool they come from, gauge the way they are used to feeling as their own personal normal, a sort of personal bias. This means that if your body type makes you feel tight and inflexible, you adapt to it early on and you believe that this lack of flexibility is normal for you. The truth is, there is no real normal, however, there is a way you see the world based on your lifetime experience of feeling a certain way. When the way you feel deviates from this, in an unpleasant way, or you experience an unusual symptom that is out of the ordinary, many people begin to worry if this symptom makes us feel poorly, or in a state of dis ease. This is also the reason many doctors have difficulty understanding why you hurt; they rely on symptom descriptions that because of personal bias may never be mentioned because they feel normal to you. This is why doctors need more than 1o minutes to speak with you to discern if there is a problem that requires further investigation.
Without the right amount of time, your primary doctor would be less likely to look past the obvious complaints you may have based off of your perceived normal and what you are now experiencing. While this may sound confusing, years ago, a half hour with your doctor may have revealed other problems as the doctor dug deeper into your history. Years ago, your doctor was more likely to have used their hands to evaluate you, even though they had little consideration of the musculoskeletal system, which is 55% of the body.
In today’s environment, you are lucky if the doctor gives you 10 minutes, partly because insurance carriers have made it nearly impossible for a doctor to stay in business without seeing a large amount of patients that day. Many physicians will simply try to either triage, or prescribe and try or refer. 10 minutes leaves little time to diagnose and figure things out, which results in more tests, more specialists and more highly priced services that could likely have been avoided. This is complicated by the lack of consideration of the musculoskeletal system and how it interacts and creates symptoms that mimic organ system dysfunction.
When you add this to the subservient role most underfunded primary care doctors have with insurers, as the referrer, and the gatekeeper with hospitals. There is quite a bit of medical juggling that occurs, which in the end has made medical care in the united states less effective, more expensive and in some cases, dangerous. Those who live in our country visit many doctors and have little satisfaction until someone recommends some procedure, or drug or something else to placate us, especially since we have all been trained in the ways of allopathy, being born in a hospital and visiting a pediatrician, with the same symptom orientated point of view.
What most people do not realize is that political medicine in the 1960’s made the decision to create all the specialists we have now and have taught many to believe that allopathic health care providers are the only real doctors. They also marginalizedother professions such as Napropathy, Naturopathy, Acupuncture and chiropractic, which the public has been gradually finding out often has better, safer and less expensive and invasive ways of finding healthcare solutions that comprise 55% of the body. Acupuncture is unique in that it addresses energy flows in the body, something modern medicine has yet to legitemise or embrace .
The overspecialized expensive mess we now have that looks at your parts, rather than you and your systems as part of your well-being. The idea that we are separate organs as a health care approach often misses why you are experiencing the problem and eventually, a positive test may help diagnose you about a dis ease process that fits a medical criteria, allowing for the prescription of an allopathic substance (drug) to relieve the symptom. All of these substances have side effects, and some of them are addictive in nature as well.
Some allopathic doctors have stepped back and either gone alternative, meaning they use methods that are considered less mainstream, or becoming more holistic (looking at the body as a whole) because there is more to the body, its functions and its systems than mainstream medicine with its limited point of view can fully understand. Many doctors in the system also realize traditional allopathy has many more limitations than they originally realized when they began practice. An example of this was last May when 9 specialty groups admitted that 48 diagnostic regimens designed to prevent actually caused more harm than good, yet we as the public had been taught they were essential to our living longer lives. While brutally honest, more admissions are coming as the tolerance for high cost, low yield preventative/interventional services wanes in the public eye. Many of these tests and interventions have never been necessary, however, through years of teaching the public through their doctors, the government and the media, the general public embraced these preventative strategies and essential to survival . Many people who saw these screens as the way to stay healthy were left feeling naked and wondering about what they needed to do.
How can we improve the current system, while making it both safer and cost effective?
With the current Obama care laws beginning to take effect, there are many people who have been fed misinformation on what these laws do. Basically, they introduce new ideas such as ACO’s which are Accountable Care Organizations and other progressive ideas to cap costs. The problem with these ideas is that they do not get to the root of the problem, even though Obama care does begin to insure more Americans. Unfortunately, using insurance companies who are a big part of the cost problem to fix the problem is not unlike having bank management who causes the housing crisis fix the problems, after they made off with the loot.
A better way forward would be the following.
1. Improve the funding for primary care, so this becomes more desirable than being in a limited highly compensated specialty. Most primary doctors will likely spend more time with their patients, because they can afford to. Many medical specialists would likely maintain their specialty status, while gravitating toward primary care. This alone would reduce costs because there would be fewer specialist referrals and fewer tests.
2. Begin reeducating the public about which healthcare interventions are essential, and which are not. A better informed public is likely to also understand their bodies better. Doctor visits should be about essential needs, rather than all the preventative things that have been proven not to be of benefit. The better informed the public is about their health, the less they will use their doctor frivilously.
3. Paradigm shift to wellness – Sick care needs to go. Doctors should be about helping their patients stay healthy. In order for this to happen, doctors need to embrace nutrition, and understand the musculoskeletal system better. 55% of the body being misunderstood is a huge blind spot. By better understanding the musculoskeletal system, we would require fewer joint replacements in have far fewer people suffering from chronic pain as we do now.
4. Full embrace of professions such as chiropractic, Acupuncture, Napropathy and other non medical healing professions. The public deserves to have better care through better integration and team work. Healthcare should be about the patient, not the business of medicine.
5. Better food policies for the country – Do we need foods like corn being grown with subsidies, even though these foods are not nutritionally what we really need. Other small countries take food from farm to table much faster, with the food being much faster. Many health problems with being overweight can be partially solved with less reliance on pasta’s and other less healthy foods. A movement toward more appropriate portions should also be taken since this would help attack the obesity problem, a huge problem in this country and a large driver of healthcare costs.
6. Stop treating aging as a disease. Somehow, getting older became a disease which required treatment. It is a process and those who are frail and older should have healthcare providers whose sole purpose of to help them stay more comfortable and healthy. Many of our elderly are on tons of medication, however, many are miserable because of it. Better and more well rounded health care providers can help them stay healthier, move better and have a better quality of life. Chiropractic helps many seniors move better and stay active. Seniors need fewer drugs and care that allows them to be more self sufficient. Nursing homes should be reserved for only caring for those who are and whose families are unable to have the resources to help them take care of themselves. All too often, the nursing systems goal for longevity does not match the quality of the persons life. Many seniors who have advanced demensia are kept alive artificially using drugs and other methods, even though the person we knew is no longer there. The ethics of what we do and why should be rethought.
A better healthcare model will undoubtedly drive down the cost of care, while also shrinking the system. Moving more toward an intelligent primary care funding model will add more available doctors while allowing the public better health information will likely result in far fewer health care visits. This will over time reduce the amount of diagnostics, the amount of procedures and the overall costs of care, especially with primary care learning more about the musculoskeletal system reduce the size and the costs in our healthcare system. A better embrace of other groups of providers who are more effective in other areas will help solve certain problems where allopathy has clearly not been effective or cost effective. This would indeed be smart medicine.
What do you think? As always, I value your opinion. Learn more about smarter healthcare by reading Cheating Mother Nature, what you need to know to beat chronic pain available through Amazon.com and other book resellers.