I chose the words “family health” as part of my practice name because patients are not isolated in their health care concerns. If a patient is struggling, often so, too, is their family. It takes a village to raise our children and I believe in taking care of that village. My passion for preventative, whole person and whole family medical care began in medical school. Upon graduation, this was followed by an additional nine years of residency and fellowship training in reproductive, pediatric, and psychiatric health care, specialties that often focus on prevention (think prenatal care & well child exams) and whole person care (think mental health & integrative medicine). I’ve been privileged to provide medical care to thousands of patients over 30 years. Though certainly not the traditional path, my additional training and clinical experience, and in recent years, my coursework in integrative medicine, have provided the extensive experience and expertise necessary to provide medical care across the lifespan from infancy through young adulthood and parenthood.
I believe it is important to integrate both Western and Eastern medical practices, evolving patient care and providing many options for patient wellness and medical care. Emerging research is providing scientific evidence for the healing power of plants and discovering explanations for many plant-based diets and treatments passed down for centuries in many cultures. Not all families are comfortable with medication treatments. Therefore, it is important to review the available literature regularly to ensure that safe alternative options and nutrition are discussed. Further, many patients wish to focus on prevention and wellness, to avoid diseases that run in their family or have a lifestyle component. It goes without saying, that the best cure for disease is the prevention of disease. Therefore, my practice model has a strong focus on preventative practices, integrating them alongside medical treatments.
Both physicians and patients are desperately seeking new ways to provide and receive more personalized health care. The high volume, fast-paced clinical model that has emerged under the current insurance-based and corporate system is not a sustainable model. It needs to evolve. It’s not news that many physicians, especially primary care providers, are rapidly leaving the field of medicine. What was once a calling and felt like a noble endeavor has been reduced to a repetitive factory-like pace that leaves little time for the physician-patient relationship to grow and flourish.
I chose to use the word “evolving” for many reasons. One of the most important is that a new idea can sometimes be an old one. Returning to a home-based model of care is both “old school” and also newly innovative, a model plucked from the past that is evolving our patient care model in the present. This model honors the physician-patient relationship and allows for longer visits, more individualized care, and improves the quality of care. Physicians, welcomed into a patient’s home and often treated like family, learn more about the patient and their family from their home environment. Parents, often sleep-deprived and exhausted, do not have to wake and dress their infants or children, strap them into a car seat, drive to an office, then enter a waiting room, often filled with sick patients. Instead, families can relax in the comfort and security of their own home or when convenient, mine. This is the model of care I’ve chosen to provide because the comfort of my patients matters to me.
Visiting a patient in their home or inviting them into mine, is an honor and a privilege. Cultivating patient relationships in this way is not only rewarding for the physician but also improves patient satisfaction with their care. Without a clock ticking in the background, physicians have time to do what they do best: listen, empathize, and get to the heart of the matter. So much healing occurs just in the act of being present and listening.
In my practice, I meet patients and families where they’re at in terms of assessing their readiness for a medical diagnosis, treatment plan or behavioral change. If they are not ready for change, we wait until they are. Some things can’t wait, however, and in my case I left a traditional practice so that I could open one that was more responsive to patient and physician needs today. What’s evolving in my practice is that in addition to meeting patients where they’re at psychologically, I’m also meeting them where they’re at, quite literally, by providing medical care within the sanctity of their home. Or mine.