Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Family Medicine: Life is Not Medical, It's Human

So many initiatives make up the current healthcare transformation.  Many are fad-like IT adventures that appear exciting on the surface but detract from health care, especially as it applies to individuals.  The life of the individual is being sucked into a medical abyss by some of these initiatives such as "Meaningful Use"  which measures "measurables" and calls them "quality".  These initiatives are billed as vital and may lead to bonuses for physicians (or their employer) or labels for patients as "non-compliant".  Overall, they are leading to the Medicalization of life and a denial of the Humanity of life.

Is life just Medical?  Are we Human Beings or Medical Beings?  Is managing cholesterol the essence of Family Medicine?  Is a good Hemoglobin A1c the measure of the patient-physician relationship?  As Peggy Lee once sang, "Is that all there is?"

The Direct Primary Care DPC) movement says, "No!"  There is more.  There is the power of the patient-physician relationship to validate the humanity of both patient and physician while identifying and treating medical conditions.  There is the shared wisdom of patients and physicians that clarifies the meaning of the illness and the beauty of life.  DPC offers new freedoms and challenges to Family Physicians via more time with patients and family. The time factor allows for richer differential diagnoses and clinical decision making.  It also allows for a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.  It's not perfect and it's definitely not for everyone.
What do you think?

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