Do we need new models of care that suits the challenges of the modern era?

About the doctor

Hello and welcome to The Health Docs!  I'm Sam, a General Practitioner medical doctor who specialises in lifestyle as medicine. I believe education, self-confidence & community are some of the keys for improving health. 

Some time ago I realised that I never have enough time in my consults to give people all the information they need and I needed to give them.  Especially when it comes down to getting to the roots of health and disease like food, nutrition, movement, sleep, the mind, connection, our social and natural environments and more.  Hence my potential as a doctor, as the healer I wanted to be, was not being reached and that means my patients potential was not being reached either.

So I started thinking...

I needed to find a more innovative way to share knowledge, clinical experience & wisdom for a fraction of the cost to the patient and the healthcare system.  A way that people could access the information that they needed, whenever they needed it for whatever price they can afford, even if that is free. 

And so I created this website, The Health Docs. 

Evidence and whole-person based programs designed to genuinely help people on their path to greater health, strength and happiness.  I know that current modern medical interventions save and improve lives, hence these programs are not intended to replace the care provided by peoples usual health provider.  Instead they aim to support patients in ways current models of care struggle to.   No fads, no sponsorship, no commercial ties.  Just real health for real people.

 

 

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela

The longer version...

Modern health care needs to evolve to solve the many challenges we face together. We have solved them before, we can solve them again.

The Health Docs was born out of my own experience as a practicing family physician in a busy practice where the average appointment time was ~15 minutes. These time constraints are not from a desire of any doctor, but rather a necessity. To meet the demand of hundreds/thousands of patients, most doctors have to get people through as fast as possible, but of course this leads to care which may be with good intentions but often lacking the depth and personalisation that is required.  

Not having enough time to pass along the knowledge, experience & wisdom that my patients needed to manage their health conditions proactively made me frustrated. This is why I am so passionate about bringing this information to the people through The Health Docs. 

 

"I cannot do all the good that the world needs. But the world needs all the good that I can do"

- Jana Stanfield

The current situation...

Many patients, therapists and people are looking for a new paradigm in healthcare.  Modern medicine has evolved over the past 100 years to manage acute illness like trauma, infections, heart attacks and child/mother birth mortality.  And it has become extremely effective at this. 

But the challenges are changing and are now significantly lifestyle and environmentally based chronic disease.  To meet these challenges most people now want more information and more treatment options than they feel is being offered to them by modern health care, due to a variety of reasons.

So naturally when people do not get the answers they are seeking they go looking … but most of us get stuck between a rock and a hard place…

The Rock...

All of us are often confused and overwhelmed by the enormous volume of blogs, vlogs, websites, books and opinions (often inexperienced and uneducated) out there, which leads to despair, side effects and financial ruin.

The Hard Place...

Most countries now face a growing and costly chronic disease burden like heart disease, cancer, pain conditions, arthritis, obesity, diabetes and so on.  Chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and disability worldwide.  The major chronic diseases by 2020 will account for 73% of all deaths and 60% of the global burden of disease. Moreover, 79% of the deaths attributed to these diseases occur in the developing countries.   To manage these chronic diseases in countries like Australia and America almost 60% of people over age 20 years (that’s right…. 20!) are taking medication and for people aged more than 65 years ~40% are using 5 or more drugs.

In the US only 3% of the health budget is spent on public health whilst health expenditure is growing faster than the economy.

“I don’t understand why asking people to eat a well-balanced diet is considered drastic, while it is medically conservative to cut people open and put them on cholesterol lowering drugs for the rest of their lives.”

– Dr Dean Ornish

This paradigm must change...

Our modern health care system also faces a wide array of other challenges that at least partially have their solution in decent patient education, empowerment and  self and community responsibility.   It is becoming increasingly clear that our modern health system must continue to evolve as it always has. We have succeeded in the past by changing our delivery of health care to match the challenges of the past and we must do this again.  Change in care is required to match the growing disease burden and health needs of a rapidly changing and complex world.  Evidence based environment and lifestyle modification is proving to be one of the most clinically and economically effective therapeutic tool for prevention and TREATMENT/REVERSAL of many chronic diseases.  For example; high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, major depression disorder, liver disease, arthritis, chronic pain disorders and even early prostate cancer have evidence to show that they can be completely or partially reversed with lifestyle and environmental modifications.  The current body of evidence for disease prevention is more substantial with estimates that 80% of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, 30-50% of cancers and 35% of dementia cases are preventable. These are interventions that improve health, quality of life and can save significant amounts of money for both patients and healthcare systems. These are not intended to be a replacement for modern medicine, which continues to save and improve the lives of so many. But rather as an additional tool in the toolbox for supporting people to health and happiness.

To make the right decisions for us we need the relevant information so we can know the pros and cons of each option and make an informed decision.  However many of us are not getting either all the information we need or are not getting the support and coaching to actually apply that information. This coaching can be significantly enhanced by people supporting themselves and each other through the use of innovative technological tools like online platforms, apps, avatars, VR etc. 

The evidence tells us that with the right combination of education, technology, coaching and motivation then you and I can solve many of the problems that we all face.  We have some serious challenges ahead of us friends …but the solutions are there.

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