By Dr Robert Kornfeld Huffington Post November 2011
"The more things change, the more they stay the same." This couldn’t be truer of our health care delivery system. As a practicing physician for more than 30 years, I have experienced firsthand the explosion of medical technology, much of which has dramatically changed the way we diagnose pathology and the way we surgically and medically treat pathology. I will admit that this has served patients and doctors well, yet recent history has seen an explosion of illness and morbidity in our society.
What I feel compelled to take issue with, and the reason I am writing this treatise, is that the actual paradigm of medical care has not changed much in spite of all of our technological advances. Physicians have been extensively trained and have held steadfast in the belief that presenting symptoms are entities unto themselves. These symptom complexes have been treated as if they have a life of their own, separate and apart from the innocent bystander host, the person with the medical problem. We have divided the human body into a jigsaw puzzle of component parts. We’ve taken the jigsaw puzzle apart and assigned a specialist to address each one of these pieces of the whole, losing sight of the fact that everything is part of the whole, and everything we do as physicians to each little part affects the whole person. This has fostered the current allopathic paradigm of "symptom care" in lieu of the more important issue of "health care."
In order to establish a system that is truly focused on health care, we need to expose some "myths" that will allow us to unlock the door to creating a more efficient and successful healthcare delivery system.
Myth #1- Technology has improved healthcare
Ask any physician if he believes that technology has improved health care and you will get a resounding "Yes!" Advances in medical technology now enable us to look inside the human body with relative ease and with great detail. Our surgical tools allow us to operate on all parts of the body with a minimum of trauma and blood loss. Technology has helped us improve the quality of life for millions of patients every year. It has enabled us to save countless lives as well. Therefore, it is certainly a foregone conclusion that technology has, in fact, improved our health. Or has it?
Statistically, since the age of technology, there has been an onslaught of increasing pathology. The amount of illness and morbidity in our society is dramatically rising. There are now more cases of cancer, heart disease, arthritis, auto-immune illnesses, endocrine disorders, developmental disorders, allergies, respiratory problems, infectious diseases, neurological problems, musculo-skeletal pathology, gastro-intestinal disorders, psychological illness, etc., than ever before.
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