Like it or not, when it comes to healthcare, we are all consumers.
Lately, the experience of visiting a doctor has become as rewarding as scoring an airline seat that has enough room and is priced at a level we are happy with. In healthcare, it seems we are all in coach these days.
Want to visit your primary who now works for the large corporate system, be prepared to wait two months even if what you have seems like it needs immediate attention. Need immediate attention, go to urgent care often owned by the same hospital or large system. Do you have a life-threatening problem or one you believe is life-threatening, you are told to go to the Emergency department and be prepared to wait unless you call an ambulance which will cost you a small fortune. The good news is that those who work in the same system use the same records. The bad news is that large hospital systems have purchased your doctor’s practices and then told them how to practice, and what they can do and what they cannot. They are systems of one-size-fits-all healthcare which doesn’t. Welcome to the world of the physician technician.
The model of primary care that you may have grown up with is being replaced by conveyor belt healthcare where you have access to your records, you wait for an appointment in a system that increasses business by using fear and practices making us dependent on our medical providers more than ever.
Years ago, the primary care doctor would do what is necessary to keep you healthy with their knowledge at the time. Now, everyone who visits urgent care gets the same protocol for conditions that seem the same. Often, problems in our self regulating bodies spontaneously resolve even though we believe the medication or antibiotic resolved the problem. If you feel better, we assume the medication or treatments were responsible. We just want medical guidance when a problem appears to not resolve on its own. If we feel better, the treatment worked in our bodies and our minds.
Physician or technician.
Do you know the difference? Most patients just go with the flow hoping the doctor can figure out why they have a problem.
Physicians are not just in name only. They can be your medical doctor, your osteopath, your podiatrist, and even your chiropractor. What separates a physician from a technician is how they care for you. A physician wants to find out why you have a problem, diagnose it properly with their tools of the trade, and help you solve the problem quickly and efficiently. A thorough exam and some blood tests often are how doctors should figure out many problems. The business of testing has grown as more doctors do not thoroughly take histories, do cursory exams, and order tests when they do not know. Often, many of our symptoms have a musculoskeletal reason for being, however without the skills or knowledge on how to evaluate this, the doctor will order tests which often are costly, sometimes invasive, and are often negative.
In the chiropractic world, we evaluate the systems holistically and use this to understand the patient before we treat them with manual methods of treatment. Many problems such as stomach complaints, shoulder pain, back pain, and even neck pain are musculoskeletally based. A thorough evaluation will lead to treatment that often works, so testing is usually unnecessary. If the patient does not respond, we too will test when we don’t know. We just know more and test less. Health is about more than some blood tests and your blood pressure. We practice primary care for the musculoskeletal system.
Technicians can be medical providers too. Your x-ray technician doing the same protocols to take x-ray images all day. There are many technicians in the healthcare realm; unfortunately, many of our doctors have become technicians.
The problem with physician burnout has been widely publicized as doctors are being called providers which can include nurse practitioners, other provider extenders such as PAs, physical therapists speech therapists, and even occupational therapists. Their job of diagnosis has become part of a system that values them less, has they doing more paperwork and they have to practice as they are told by the large systems, insurance carriers, and other sources such as patients who want a particular test or therapy or drug they saw advertized.
Many times these technicians can be the nurse at the urgent care, your primary care doctor who works for Summit Medical Group which is now owned by City MD and the specialists they employ must do the same thing all day and cannot work outside the lines.
This system relies on everyone being referred from one specialist to another, taking this or that drug and then moving to the next provider over weeks or months as the patient struggles for answers to why they have a problem.
Even the urgent care doctors who are diagnosing you and looking at your electronic history are giving the same cocktail for those symptoms all day, every day. Is it solving your problem? Patients move about the system if it doesn’t.
If your problem gets worse, you visit the E.R. only to wait for hours until anyone calls you in, only just for blood work and then you continue sitting until they finally call you in and you get an outrageous bill for everything, Did your problem get solved?
A sensible model that keeps you healthy.
A podcast I listened to mentioned the idea of healthcare 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0. According to this and other authors we are in healthcare 2.0 with 3.0 being more preventative.
Primary care should be more holistic and be about helping you stay out of the doctors office. The current system incentivizes more care, tests, and services rather than healthy living both of the physiological systems of the body and the mechanical ones as well.
Chiropractors are the closest thing to healthcare 3.0 as well as functional medicine providers.
In our realm of chiropractic care, our offices take a primary care approach to most patients with a specialization in pain and the musculoskeletal system. We will also listen to your heart and lungs, look in your ears, and monitor your blood pressure. Our approach mirrors what you used to get in primary care, the desire to keep you out of the system. If needed, you will be referred to your primary care medical provider however, often this is not needed as our simple model of one patient, one doctor helps maintain consistency of care while avoiding over-segmenting care which can be costly, time-consuming, and ineffective.
Unfortunately, the healthcare system led by insurance carriers has no interest in helping us stay healthy as it’s less profitable for the drug companies, for the hospital systems, and for the insurers.
On the other hand, staying healthy is good for our body and soul.
Seek out healthcare practitioners who diagnose properly, do thorough exams and through the use of better diagnoses, test less and help you stay healthy.
Real physicians are thorough and help you sort through problems. Technicians give you one-size-fits-all solutions that often fail to work as they are not customized to your unique needs. Hopefully, you can now understand the difference.
Need help with what hurts? Do you want to visit a Healthcare 3.0 physician for your problems today? Seeing a chiropractic physician may be your best first step toward better health. Book online here.