Every day I am reminded of the appalling flaws in the healthcare system, whether I am speaking with a patient, hearing a horror story from a friend, or seeing what goes on when I have a family member who is going through a health crisis. Instead of ranting about all the problems — medical misdiagnosis, handing out statin drugs like candy without notifying the patient that chronic muscle pain and cramping is to be expected, ignoring the root cause of most patients’ illness, letting diabetes spiral out of control until the cutting off of limbs becomes necessary, failure to notify patients that autoimmune disease is reversible, continuing to tell overweight patients to eat less and exercise more (even though that doesn’t work), the list goes on and on — I want to instead tell you a little about my vision for the future of healthcare.
1. Annual “checkups” will do more than just check to see how much you weigh and whether or not you have a pulse. Simple devices like bathroom scales, blood pressure monitors, heart rate monitors, tongue depressors, and pen lights are not high tech equipment. Nobody needs a doctor to check these things for them once a year to judge whether or not they’re healthy. Nearly every person on Earth owns a smartphone that is capable of taking accurate pulse measurements, and a simple chest strap paired with an app on a smartphone gives each of us the ability to track our heart rate variability on a daily basis. Your data could be sent directly to your functional medicine practitioner each week for analysis. In addition, you can track your body composition (lean mass, fat mass, bone mass, and water) in the privacy of your own home with a $60 bathroom scale. Within the near future, we will also be able to use a simple device to instantly test ourselves at home for inflammation, vitamin D, fertility level, and the flu virus with a simple finger prick just like we can already do to test blood sugar and blood ketone levels. No hypodermic needle or long wait time required!
2. Intelligent patients and doctors will opt-out of “the system” by becoming members of recognized healthcare sharing ministries such as Liberty Direct instead of falling prey to the insurance scheme. Under Section 26 U.S.C. 5000A(d)(2)(B) of the Affordable Care Act, you can claim an exemption from participating in the health insurance scheme by utilizing the code “D” exemption when you are a member of a healthcare sharing ministry. Participating medical providers have attended the Institute of Functional Medicine and typically have concierge or membership-based healthcare practices. This means you can skip the long waiting lists and see your doctor when you need help.
3. Opting out of the insurance system means you’ll get the proper lab tests that can identify health imbalances years before they turn into serious diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc. Screening tests like the Wellness Complete should be done on an annual basis while you are well. If biomarkers drastically change from one year to the next, this is an early warning sign that something has gone awry. This usually occurs before you experience any symptoms of disease. Oftentimes, dietary change, lifestyle change, and nutritional or herbal supplements can move your biomarkers back to where they should be (your healthy baseline) and effectively prevent the disease process that would have occurred without preventative intervention.
4. Hospitals will look more like high-tech health spas. Instead of having fluorescent lights and constant beeping sounds, hospitals will have water fountains, live plants, and organic gardens to create a soothing, healing environment rich in negative ions. There is mounting scientific evidence that negative ions that are present in forests and alongside oceans, waterfalls, and rivers immediately help lower stress signals in the body to promote healing. Fluorescent lights and electronic beeping sounds do exactly the opposite. Lifesaving technology and surgical equipment can work just as well under therapeutic chromotherapy lighting and surrounded by live flora. Hospital food should likewise be the most nutritious food available, which means it would include freshly harvested organic produce grown on-site and prepared with love by a non-stressed, highly trained cooking staff. A variety of protein sources and healthy fats would accompany each tastefully prepared plant-based meal. Fruit juice, margarine, corn syrup, and MSG would not be ingredients in any meals or snacks available at a hospital.
These are just a few of my ideas for the future of healthcare, and I think that if you choose to be the change you wish to see in the world, many of these ideas will become a reality within the not-too-distant future. The technology is already here. All we need now is a shift in mindset and implementation.
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