By Dr. Jared DuPree, PhD, MBA
Note: This is the first article in a 6 part series by Dr. Jared DuPree addressing healthcare in America. Look for it in each issue of St. George Health & Wellness magazine through 2015.
About eight years ago, I was discussing the future of healthcare with a colleague before ACA, before the economic crisis began in 2007, and before traditional healthcare began to shift. We both felt change was coming – we felt it as we went to conferences, read the research, spoke with providers and realized that a paradigm shift was about to occur. What were we noticing?
First, we realized that many physicians wanted more. Most providers go to school with good intentions – to help people. Once in the real world, they realize the system doesn’t allow them to always help the way they were trained. Is treatment affordable? Will insurance reimburse? Will the treatment I think they need cover my costs? Am I addressing the real problem, or placing a Band-Aid on a deeper issue? Providers often get frustrated with the financial side of helping, because it can be difficult to help in the way they want to help.
Second, we realized that many providers didn’t want to focus on symptoms anymore. They wanted to prevent symptoms by addressing overall health and wellness. If you asked providers what they wish they could do with their patients, many would say, “I wish I had an influence on them 10, 20, 30 years earlier to help them develop a lifestyle focused on well-balanced nutrition, realistic fitness, emotional wellness, healthy relationships, and a balanced life.” The way to truly help people is through helping them develop a lifestyle that protects, prevents, and strengthens in order to buffer future challenges.
Third, we realized that more research and evidence suggested that many aspects of health and life are connected. Just as the cardiovascular system is connected to the neurosystem, which is connected to the lymphatic system, etc., we’re discovering that there are some very real connections beyond the traditional systems.
Our mind, emotions, and even relationships are closely connected to our health. Can a relationship with a spouse or family member impact how a patient is overcoming cancer or coping with Alzheimer’s disease, (e.g., The Notebook)? Can the impact of obesity on heart disease really be impacted by addressing emotional eating influenced by grief, trauma or depression? Can back pain really be thwarted by helping someone address stress better in their life?
Yes! It’s a very big yes. In fact, in some areas of treatment, addressing the emotional and relational side of that area is so important that it has become the gold standard of treatment – the tipping point.
So, what does it all mean? Physicians are developing options that give consumers the freedom to be treated as a whole person (mind, body, emotion), working together with other providers as a team as they consider long-term health and make these options affordable.
We are only starting to see the rumblings of all this. Some local examples include the LiveWell center at Intermountain, Alive & Well, and WholeFIT. In fact, I was speaking with the founder of Alive & Well recently and his wish was that St. George businesses, consumers and others could “understand how important it is to think about health differently – we need to help everyone see that our minds, bodies, emotions and relationships are all connected to our health. People deserve to be healthy, and what that really means is that people deserve to reap the benefits of healthy eating, fitness, connecting relationships, and a healthy body. There are many of us that want to help them do that.”
- New World/New Way Factor #1: Physicians and providers want the freedom to treat people the best way possible.
- New World/New Way Factor #2: Physicians and providers want to focus more on prevention and long-term health strategies by addressing lifestyle, not just symptoms.
- New World/New Way Factor #3: Physicians and providers realize that in order to truly help people, providers need to work together and treat the entire person, bodies, minds, emotions, relationships and overall lifestyle.