I recently read a blog post titled “How to talk with your patients about alternative medicine.” I got really excited and thought Yes! Another physician who gets it. Well, no. The blog really should have been called “How to convince your patients why you think alternative medicine is bogus without offending them.”
Because of the negative way alternative medicine is portrayed in the media, I had the misperception that the great majority of conventional practitioners were against it. I started digging, though, and happily found out, that is not necessarily the case.
The problem is, few of us are working together for the greater good to collaborate with other practitioners and offer patients what they really want.
It’s not easy being an empowered patient in our current health care system, which places way too much emphasis on “the doctor/pharmaceutical company/FDA is always right”, and too little emphasis on what might actually work best for that patient.
I’m going to let you in on a secret. There’s ONE step that you have to take to become empowered. Just ONE. Ready?
In the first segment of our 3-part Empowerment series, I discussed why it’s so important for patients and providers to feel empowered, and how we can use the Internet as a way to stay informed on best current practices. Today, we look at an uglier side of our health care system based on the outdated beliefs that the health care provider is always right, and Western medicine has all the answers.
Except in trauma, Western medicine excels at suppressing symptoms, but it’s not so good at helping people to heal. (I define healing as coming back as strong or even stronger than before the illness or health issue developed.) Even worse, our health care system is rife with practitioners – from all ranks of medicine, both conventional and alternative – who believe that they know better than their patients. And rather than using information to empower their patients, they use fear, coercion, and sometimes force to manipulate their patients into “patient compliance”, making them go along with treatments that are expensive, not evidence based, and/or may cause harm to the patient.
I know these are strong words to use. The problem is, people contact me every week because they want options. They question why their doctor is “requiring” that they or their child endure a treatment or intervention that might cause them harm, whether those treatments are surgery, chemotherapy, or supplements. They feel intuitively there must be a different way, but their provider is not providing them with any options.
It’s the ugly side of our health care system, and it is hurting patients.