In the final episode of this series, Dr. Agolli and Dr. Burdette discuss:
Doctors have been spending less time with each patient in recent years due to decreasing reimbursements which have forced physicians to see more patients to retain the same amount of income. This means shorter patient visits and less time for relationship building1. In addition, doctors increasingly need to document their care on the computer due to changes in how insurance companies and the government pay for medical care, causing many physicians to spend more time with their desktops than with their patients2.
According to a survey, physicians consider patient relationships to be the most rewarding aspect of their practices. 15% of physicians report that a lack of time with patients is a major reason for job dissatisfaction. Physicians may find that more time away from patients causes them to become frustrated and burn out34.
Patient-centered care is an approach to healthcare that puts patients in the driver’s seat1. It involves treating patients with respect and empathy while supporting them in making decisions about their health and course of treatment1. Patient-centered care ensures that patients are comfortable, satisfied and well-informed while receiving health care treatment1. It encourages patients to be active participants in the decision-making process throughout the course of their recovery1.
Integrative medicine can help with patient-centered care by providing care that is patient-centered, healing-oriented, emphasizes the therapeutic relationship, and uses therapeutic approaches originating from conventional and alternative medicine1
Naturopathy and allopathy are two different approaches to medicine. The biggest difference between naturopathy and allopathy is that allopathic physicians tend to view good health as a physical state in which there is no obvious disease present. In contrast, naturopathic physicians recognize true health as an optimal state of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being1.
Allopathic medicine selectively targets the symptoms of a disease. It makes use of surgery, drugs, radiation, chemotherapy and even attenuated pathogens as treatment modalities for diseases2. Naturopathy, on the other hand, credits the body with an innate ability to heal and views symptoms as warning signs that the body is out of balance. Because the body has its own ability to heal, naturopathic medicine supports the body’s natural processes instead of suppressing symptoms2.
Integrative and functional medicine can combine the best parts of naturopathic and allopathic medicine as a cohesive philosophy and in practice. Integrative medicine focuses on a wide range of factors that could be affecting the patient, including mental, emotional, environmental, social, spiritual, and physical influences. With integrative medicine, the goal is to prevent illness and disease by maintaining health and wellness in all areas of life. Although medication can be used when necessary, integrative medicine doctors prefer to use natural and less invasive interventions if possible1.
Functional medicine is holistic in how it views patients and the problems they present with. It includes the core concepts of naturopathic medicine within its system. Functional medicine incorporates the open-mindedness of integrative medicine when determining the most effective modality needed to get the patient well1.
By combining these approaches, practitioners can provide a more comprehensive approach to healthcare that addresses not only the symptoms of a disease but also its underlying causes. This can help to improve patient outcomes and promote overall health and well-being.