“Holistic Methods to Improve Healthcare for Everyone” sure sounds good but what does it mean? Why is this important?
These are all important questions which are at the foundation of the meaning and purpose of this journey. I think the healthcare system is in need of substantial change in order to provide us with what it is supposed to, namely health and wellbeing. This applies to patients being treated and to the providers working within the system.
Holistic methods reflects the need to combine the best available information and ideas to provide improved health and wellness. This requires us to be open minded to ideas from all perspectives. Too often, the traditional healthcare system has disregarded practices which were not derived from within. Just as frequently, the so-called alternative medical providers work outside of, and at times to the exclusion of, traditional Western medical treatments. The isolation that this creates is to the detriment of all of us. In our program we will combine not only traditional Western medical treatments with tested Eastern methods, such as mindfulness, but also the emerging ideas within domains such as mindset training, sleep, nutrition, and physical activity. This exemplifies the total being greater than the sum of the parts.
The healthcare system is typically thought of as the industry we turn to in times of illness or disease. This, however, is only a component of the potential benefit of healthcare. Not only should it be a means to treat illness, but more importantly it should be a resource for promoting and maintaining health. Not only should the system treat what has gone wrong, it should protect and enhance what is working properly. This transformation will lead to greater wellbeing of the population which in turn will allow everyone to pursue their full potential in the areas of life that are of importance to them. There are numerous breakthroughs in medical research which have been incorporated into treatments and there are also many discoveries in related areas of study which can and should be applied to the traditional medical treatments to help people with disease as well as promote the wellbeing of the general population.
This paradigm shift of incorporating holistic methods and transforming the healthcare system applies to everyone, not just patients but equally to healthcare providers. This evolution will improve the outcome from medical care irrespective of the reason someone seeks care. For healthcare care providers the benefits are multiple. Firstly, optimizing the overall wellbeing of the provider and working at peak performance, will undoubtedly allow the provider to provide the best possible care to his or her patients, leading to improved patient care. Secondly, there is an ever increasing problem with provider burnout. Despite the fact that healthcare providers are responsible for the health of their patients, insufficient attention is paid to protecting and improving the health and wellbeing of providers themselves. This unfortunate reality, combined with the ever increasing pressures of the healthcare system, has resulted in an increased risk of provider burnout which decreases job satisfaction and performance and increases the risk of depression, anxiety, and even suicide amongst providers. This can and must be improved through these initiatives.
The journey to improve and possibly transform, to even a small degree, the healthcare system is needed in order to allow all of us the opportunity to live our lives to the fullest. Without health and wellness, it is difficult, if not impossible, to perform at one’s best and explore our potential. Without including healthcare providers as a consumer of this transformation, we jeopardize the sustainability of the system. By utilizing all of the information available to us, we increase our chances for improving healthcare for everyone!