If you are looking for more reasons to educate yourself and take more responsibility for your health, look no further than the latest discovery about how doctors spend their time.
The New York Times is reporting that new internists spend an average of eight minutes per patient.
Worse, they are relying more heavily on electronic information than ever. This means they touch you less, interact with you less and make more decisions based on what they read on a computer screen.
Given their time constraints, docs are consciously figuring out how to move through patients more quickly.
Here are some of their strategies:
1. Skip the introductions. Don’t tell patients your name.
2. Don’t sit down – it leads to longer conversations.
3. Don’t interact with family members who may be in the room.
4. Make decisions based on scanning information in the electronic file and taking supplied electronic recommendations, rather than discuss and think it through.
5. Don’t touch the patient. It takes too much time.
It is possible to get good medical care, however!
You just need to take charge and be willing to do some research and find the doctors and alternative health practitioners in your area that actually care about helping people, rather than making a ton of money.
Just this month at my semi-annual doctor appointment I had this very conversation with my doctor, an osteopath who spends 30-45 minutes with me during a routine office visit.
“It’s crazy and getting worse,” he said. “My colleagues are hell-bent on making money and that’s about it. They may go an entire day without even touching a patient. It takes too much time to lay their hands on people and feel what is going on. I had a second opinion case not long ago where I found a massive tumor in this woman’s abdomen. She had gone to her doctor complaining of a stomachache. He didn’t even bother to feel her stomach. If he had, he would have discovered this tumor the size of an orange.”
He continued, “Of course, these guys are making $600-700K per year. I make peanuts, but I can’t get myself to practice medicine like they do.”
He’s a great doc. He cares. Find a doctor like this in your community and support good medicine!
Here are some other suggestions:
1. Find a naturopathic doctor (N.D.). Naturopaths typically care about spending time with people and finding the underlying cause of symptoms.
2. Find a local compounding pharmacy. Ask for a referral to a local practitioner. Typically, compounding pharmacies know the local natural health practitioners.
3. If you like your doctor, but he or she doesn’t spend enough time with you to address your concerns, then negotiate. Ask for more time. Offer to pay more (if you can) to get more time.
4. Find a practitioner of lifestyle medicine. Lifestyle medicine is a powerful branch of functional medicine that uses non-pharmaceutical interventions to treat serious medical conditions. And it works.
My friend Dr. Wes Youngberg, author of the book Good-bye Diabetes, is a lifestyle medicine practitioner who has facilitated the healing of all manner of “incurable” medical conditions, all without the use of pharmaceuticals or invasive medical interventions.
It’s on you, though. Dr. Youngberg once told me, “You have a health board of advisers, but you are the Chairman of the Board. You get to hire a team of people, sure, but they all work for you.”
- What Does a Naturopathic Doctor Do? (ultimatefulfillment.org)
- Us Doctor Prescribes Food As Medicine (ultimatefulfillment.org)
- Docs Use Natural Remedies (but Don’t Prescribe Them) (ultimatefulfillment.org)