Naturopathic doctors practice patient-centered care
What is patient-centered care?
Patient centered care is healthcare centered around a partnership between the doctor or healthcare professional and the patient. When medical decisions are made, the patient and doctor act as a team and they focus on understanding the patient’s needs and desires in light of what is medically necessary. Vital to patient-centered care is communication. The patient and doctor may set goals, discuss the benefits and risks of treatments, and conduct follow-up meetings to determine if care is on track, or changes need to be made. This style of care is beneficial to both doctor and patient as it allows for more genuine and honest discussions.
The care you get with conventional medicine
Due to the status quo in western medicine, patient-centered care seems like a bizarre concept. There is an ongoing effort to balance medical costs with quality care, which leads to challenges that are often absent in alternative medical relationships. Conventional western doctors are encouraged to see patients for only 15 minutes (sometimes as little as 7 minutes) per visit in order to optimize profits. This leaves patients feeling neglected and discourages open communication. Patients may not have a list of questions ready to ask, especially if they need some time to process their diagnosis or discuss their symptoms. When meeting a doctor in a patient-centered care facility, there is time to discuss symptoms, no matter how insignificant, as well as treatment options.
Adopting patient-centered care strategies and allowing for enough time during a visit for open discussion will improve the quality of care and likely reduce future visits. If a patient understands their illness and their treatment options, they will be more likely to follow through and make the right decisions. When they are given time to understand and choose which option is best, they are also more compliant since they played a part in the decision. All this cuts down on longterm costs. If the patient feels in control of his medical care, he will continue to take responsibility for his health in the days and weeks following the appointment. A patient-centered care approach can also reduce the risk of medical mistakes. Adequate communication with a patient gives space for the patient to speak up if they have allergies or don't feel the treatment is working. This understanding protects the doctor increases their loyalty because they feel cared for and educated.
The method used by naturopathic doctors
Most naturopathic doctors provide patients with adequate time to ask questions and create (with the assistance of a doctor) an appropriate treatment program. Many but not all will use both eastern and western methods of medicine because both have value. We all know western medicine has incredible technology but many can get lost in running a battery of tests. Using the wisdom of eastern medicine in conjunction with western medicine technology, you get the most straight forward, effective, and least invasive treatment for each individual.
A typical office visit will be 90 minutes long and include a 30 minute review of past medical history, physical exam and lab ordering, followed by detailed treatment planning and discussion. During this discussion the doctor may find symptoms that seem unrelated to your current health issue, but they may in fact play a vital role in diagnosing your underlying problem. Naturopathic doctors specialize in focusing on the whole body and condensing all the seemingly random symptoms into a simple treatment approach.
Because treatments are holistic, it is important for patients to make the connection between changing their lifestyle and improving their health. This is because holistic treatments work better and faster in conjunction with healthy lifestyle. Longer periods of time communicating with patients allows for this understanding. Naturopathic doctors help patients make therapeutic lifestyle changes because they know this is more effective than prescribing a medications.
Creating balance in your body may take time. There may be underlying causes of your health issues which you have never taken the time to consider. By choosing a healthcare facility which uses a naturopathic doctor, you will get patient- centered care, the time to explore the causes of your illnesses, and ability to participate in creating a treatment program that is just right for you.
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