I’m sure a lot of people received health-related presents this past holiday season. But will they make us healthier?
How many Fitbits are gathering dust, uncharged? How many health apps on Apple watches continue to count our calories, but we do nothing about it?
The road to health may be paved with good intentions, but we have to figure out how, in a patient-centered model, all of this technology and good intentions can bring us to the best possible state of health.
When I look back through my office notes, I see that every annual visit ends with my notation that I recommended the patient eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. It feels more templated than something that was going to make a difference in their lives.
There are so many things that we need to get our patients to do, as well as so many things we need to get them to stop doing, that we’ve become overwhelmed, frustrated, pushed down by the overwhelming mass of things that need getting done.
So maybe it’s just time that we sit down and have an honest discussion with ourselves, and with our patients, one-on-one, to find out what will work for them.
Admit we’ve failed. We’ve barely made a dent in smoking rates, obesity continues to be a major problem, lack of exercise is probably driving Americans towards an early grave or at least to a state of poor health, and terrible compliance with medicines that we think our patients need means that the medicines are not doing what they’re supposed to do.
So maybe the question needs to be, what do you want from your health? What can I do for you, to help you, and only you, get healthy?
One patient at a time, one simple conversation, just us and our patients, get our patients to hear from us that if something isn’t working, we probably haven’t found the right something for them, and that we need their help.
What can I do to help you move towards your best state of heath?
Must be better than another calorie tracker, pedometer, set of weights, or membership to a gym that just doesn’t get used.
View the unabridged version here.
Fred N. Pelzman, MD, of Weill Cornell Internal Medicine Associates and weekly blogger for MedPage Today, follows what’s going on in the world of primary care medicine. Pelzman’s Picks is a compilation of links to blogs, articles, tweets, journal studies, opinion pieces, and news briefs related to primary care that caught his eye.