Medicine and lifestyle are often kept separate as it gets too personal for the medical industry to truly follow someone through an educational approach to care.
The future of care is an integrative approach that goes beyond what can be done in any one practice. Practitioners integrating the healthcare industry is where healing grows from the patient, into their families then into communities.
Medicine is something most are familiar with, a trip to the doctor then a possible trip to the pharmacy and back for a follow-up to see if the symptoms have subsided. What lifestyle medicine understands that so many other fields of medicine are coming to understand is that the physical manifestation of a symptom is an alarm to an accumulation of a patient’s mental and environmental expression of one’s lifestyle.
As doctors work tirelessly to prescribe, diagnose, and treat nurses set up shop to support their every clinical move, where then is the support in the industry for a patients’ treatment plan moving forward with success. Surely the companies that insure haven’t seen the full potential of all untapped markets of licensed and insured allied or auxiliary healthcare professionals in alternative medicine. These are the key players missing from full integration from both the insurance companies and the overall healthcare industries (Crane,2004).
The allied and auxiliary health professional continues where doctors leave off and often go where patients won’t truly go in the doctor-patient care setting. The AMA reports that four out of ten Americans seek alternative health therapies (Crane,2004). Allied and auxiliary health professionals also referred to alternative medicine based on the scope of practice and level of certification including but are not limited to health coaches, acupuncture, massage, fitness coaching, herbalist, nutritionist, dietician, naturopaths, and chiropractors. Emerging research has suggested that patients are disclosing more to these professionals creating a deeper level of diagnosing and treating than other medical specialties can (Crane, 2004). If patients are gravitating to alternative medicine and therapies based on the clinical evidence that alternative therapies are effective, why hasn’t conventional medicine and insurance caught up? Do insurance companies need to see more solidarity in healthcare in order to provide patients with coverage that covers their whole picture of health?
All of the above can work to create lifestyle medicine as a practice in healthcare the works to benefit the patient and practitioners of medicine as well as alternative therapies.
As a doctor’s time with patients tends to be shortened based on industry volume allied professionals can be there to continue to guide patients with their treatment plans under doctors’ supervision which keeps the doctors informed on a patient, they may only be getting 15 minutes or less with. Cost is ultimately the unsolved solution for both patients and practitioners and within the industry of healthcare, the insurance company is best fit to middle man the solution but has no confidence in the unity of medical and alternative care, which together creates a profitable care team that can fit into any medical health model.
As more patients flood into their doctors with a more thriving outlook on health because of the integration of lifestyle medicine, the hope is that medical practice will take this approach as a care model.
Pellino Crane, J. (2004, May/June 24). Alternative practices might be good medicine, but do they save? Workforce Management, 73-75.
Paragon Private Health, L. (2 C.E., May 2020). Can Evidence-based Lifestyle Medicine Transform Healthcare? Paragon Private Health’s, Aruna Nathan, M.D. Thinks So. . Business Wire (English).