Osteopathic Doctor on America’s Healthcare System
America’s healthcare system is a complicated topic. As an osteopathic doctor, I’m shocked each and every single day at how easily people who are unwell are led to believe that they are healthy. They are constantly fatigued, in pain, and stressed, but according to lab tests, everything is normal. Everything is as it should be. Wellness is not the focus of our healthcare system in America. Instead, our healthcare system is built on disease care, and you don’t get to participate unless you are already sick. Let me explain.
Focus on disease care
A big problem with America’s healthcare system is its tunnel-vision focus on disease care and almost complete neglect of wellness care. Wellness care, which can encompass diet management, cessation of tobacco use, exercise management, stress relief are all services which are not available to most people. This is because if you have no disease taking place, it becomes very difficult to bill insurance companies, which means you have to pay for these types of basic services out of your own pocket.
Instead of this disease-based model of healthcare, we would benefit greatly from a model that first redefines health from simply “disease free.”
Cut it out or take a pill
Our narrow view of health leads to another big problem within America’s healthcare system, the “cut it out or take a pill” approach. Most doctors rarely offer alternative and natural remedies such as acupuncture, herbal treatments, or meditation as supplementary or even primary treatments. If there’s a health problem, the first step is to go under the knife or prescribe a pill. So goes the thinking today.
The problem is most research to support the use of these treatments is funded by pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers. The research these companies conduct is vital and leads to the development of life-saving products. Unfortunately, there is very little research being done on alternative and natural remedies. There is very little you can patent amongst natural and herbal remedies, and thus there is very little opportunity to see a return on research investment.
The result is a system with an overwhelming body of research on pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices, and a meager at best body of research on anything outside of that. This includes research on the use of herbal remedies, natural treatments, and practices such as meditation. So what can you do in America’s broken healthcare system?
What can you do?
The best thing you can do for yourself in today’s healthcare environment is find a physician you trust. Someone who has a full scope of license to practice medicine and a good understanding of natural remedies will give you access to all available options and remedies to regain your state of health and wellness. Remember, we weren’t made to stay sick and unwell, stressed and depressed. We were made to be healthy and functional human beings for the entirety of our lives. If we can only take care of our body, it will take care of us and serve us for decades to come. Don’t limit its care due to today’s healthcare system.
My hope is that over time, more and more people begin to demand from their primary physicians alternative and natural remedies, opening the doors to further research of these vital tools to health and wellness. If you’d like to help in making this a reality, you can click here to view a national directory of osteopathic doctors.
Thank you for reading!
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Dr. Dan Williams is an internationally trained doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.) and a certified acupuncture practitioner. Dr. Dan is based out of Indianapolis. You can find more information by visiting drdanielwilliams.com.
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