My Opportunity to Improve Medical Care for Children
This past week, with mixed feelings, I became aware that my views on healthcare for children no longer align with those of my previous practice. Thus, I am currently searching for another practice or place in Charlotte, NC where I can build my vision of childhood wellness.
A hazy outlook
Have you noticed that in the US primary care doctors are treating less medical issues and are referring more? Do you question why doctors prescribe medicines so easily? Does it seem like all you hear about is doctor burnout and patient dissatisfaction?
Unfortunately, medical care is changing in the US, including Charlotte, NC in the following ways:
- more clinic demands
- more patients to be seen
- less appointment time with the doctor
- less payment for doctors
- longer waiting times
- more stress
- more burnout
As American medical doctors, we have become engrossed in a microcosm of insurance demands, government standards, hospital pressures, and political complexities. Slowly over time we have become ensnared without realizing it. This stressful medicine trap has led to more referrals, more medications, and less prevention.
A world of difference
I was becoming dangerously close to falling in this trap until I moved to New Zealand in 2016 to expand my medical knowledge. I have had the rare opportunity to practice in a country without the above constraints. Thanks to Wellington Children’s Hospital, I learned to practice medicine broadly and comprehensively. There are no specialists in Wellington, NZ per se. Pediatrics is The Specialty. There are strict guidelines to follow, but you can’t freak out when refugees with tuberculosis show up on your schedule amidst constipation and headache complaints. Thyroid problems, food allergies, celiac disease are folded in among concerns for eczema. Furthermore, I have had the chance to fix chronic medical problems in children with an integrative approach and less medications. In fact, parents have taken the advice as well, and now entire families are seeing the benefits.
Moreover, my colleagues in New Zealand have strongly encouraged and are paying for me to get my Functional Medicine Certificate.
The roots of chronic disease are entrenched in our lifestyle and entire body, (not just one organ). The key to prevention lies within each individual. This degree will help me provide families with an integrative approach to treating and preventing illness. Thus, I have been coveting this degree for over 2 years. New certification, here I come. Class begins September 11, 2017.
A vision board for better care, less medicine, more health
As I research options for my new Charlotte office, I am composing my wish list for what I hope to create upon my return home,
- more time with my patients
- increased knowledge to prevent chronic disease and reduce the use of medications,
- improve quality of life
- integrate holistic knowledge with western medicine
- less referrals for common problems
- Virtual Visits for things like ADHD consult, anxiety follow ups, and parenting questions
- access to nutritionist (preferably next to my desk) and a counselor
- classes to teach kids, teens, families how to make changes for healthier lives
- continue my education initiative in the local schools
- broaden my social media education campaign
The world is my oyster, friends. I am choosing a change for the better.
In Good Health, Ana-Maria Temple, MD