I say it loud and I say it proud!
D.O.s and M.D.s are very similar these days. But their origin is very different. Osteopathy was borne in the late 19th century by Andrew Taylor Still, an M.D. surgeon, who was frustrated with "modern medicine" at the time after having lost four children and his wife to spinal meningitis. He felt many of the Western therapies were doing more harm than good. So, he founded Osteopathic Medicine - with a new approach, focusing on prevention, alternative treatments, the mind-body-spirit interaction, and the role of the musculoskeletal system in disease.
Today's D.O.'s are trained in Osteopathic Medical Schools (I went to the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine) and often complete their residency training in their chosen specialty among M.D.'s (which I did at Brown in Family Medicine). Holding true to the Osteopathic tenets is an important part of my practice.
- The body is a unit; the person is a unit of body, mind, and spirit.
- The body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing, and health maintenance.
- Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated.
- Rational treatment is based upon an understanding of the basic principles of body unity, self-regulation, and the interrelationship of structure and function.
On top of this osteopathic philosophy, as a D.O. I also perform osteopathic manipulation for my patients as a part of their monthly subscription fee in the practice. Manipulation is a hands-on technique used to treat muscular aches and pains, joints aches, back and neck pain. It works best for new or fairly new injuries, and although not every patient has a miraculous recovery with OMM, many patients benefit from it as part of a full spectrum approach to their pain. OMM can even be used for sinus drainage, headaches, pregnancy-related back pain, and menstrual cramps.
Many D.O.s today practice just like M.D.s so you may not witness a significant difference between your allopathic (MD) and osteopathic (DO) physician. But, for me, I've found that it serves my patients well to hold the Osteopathic tenets close by my side and to help them guide me in all that I do for my patients.
For more on the uniqueness of having an Osteopathic Physician read here...
CNBC recently aired a special on five ways small businesses can save on healthcare costs. "Robin Wiener ['owner of health-care IT firm, Get Real Health in Rockville, MD'] has achieved something many small-business owners have struggled to do: She has lowered her firm's health-care premiums."
One of the five recommendations highlighted by CNBC and implemented by Wiener is to "Explore Direct Primary Care." They highlight that "a growing number of primary-care physicians are partnering with employers to deliver affordable preventative and primary care on a fixed-monthly membership model, in what is known as direct primary care. Instead of billing patients' insurance, direct primary care providers charge users a monthly fee for unrestricted access to their doctor....Unlike in concierge practices, which also charge monthly fees, providers in direct primary care do not bill insurers or Medicare for medical visits. 'The price point is significantly less than most concierge practices,' said Reiner. Often, it costs less than $1,000 per year per person."
"Direct primary care, coupled with a high-deductible health insurance plan, can oftentimes be an outstanding and relatively affordable solution for entrepreneurs and small business," said Reiner. When direct primary care is combined with a high-deductible plan, he said, it can often save 12 percent to 15 percent over what a firm would spend for traditional health insurance."
Time Magazine recently printed a landmark article on the concept. "The idea is deceptively simple: Pay frontline doctors a fixed monthly fee directly instead of through the byzantine insurance bureaucracy. Make the patient, rather than the paperwork, the focus of the doctor’s day. The result will be happier doctors, healthier patients and a striking reduction in wasted expense."
"Under the law, every American is required to have medical insurance–but direct-primary-care patients can seek less expensive policies, because they require coverage only for hospitalizations, surgeries and other specialized care."
"[Qliance has] signed up previously undreamed-of populations: big private employers like Expedia and Comcast, public and industry employee unions like the one for Seattle firefighters and–most radical of all–at least 15,000 Medicaid patients....Treating a wide variety of patients - young and old, healthy and chronically sick, well-off and poor - Qliance claims to be saving approximately 20% on the average cost of care compared with traditional fee-for-service providers."
"The American Academy of Family Physicians, which kept concierge medicine at arm's length for years, is moving quickly to embrace the direct-care concept. And the promise of greater efficiency and better results has attracted the likes of Amazon's Jeff Bezos and his fellow billionare Michael Dell to invest...."
"Expedia was motivated to try direct care for reasons that are familiar to business executives everywhere: health care bills were skyrocketing, but employees were not getting healthier. 'We had a number of catastrophic illnesses in 2011 and a disturbing number of deaths–12,' vice president for human resources Connie Symes tells me. “We found Qliance and their model of spending quality time with patients addressed our need to get employees involved in their own care....At the end of last year, Expedia surveyed the staff, Symes says, and the response was emphatic. More than half the employees had tried Qliance, and of those, more than 95% said they were satisfied. 'They love the doctors,' Symes says. 'They love the personal relationships they’re forming.' And although Expedia still classifies Qliance as an experiment, Symes says direct primary care, with its emphasis on prevention, 'is taking us in the right direction on lowering costs.' "
Dr. Lauren Hedde practices Direct Primary Care at her North Kingstown Direct Doctors practice. She is currently accepting new patients, including employer-based groups.
My recent bout with this season's cold and my little girl's similar nagging cough, led me to research alternative therapies to kick that cough! I had heard here and there that honey can help. Obviously, all of our grandmothers recommended honey tea when we got sick as kids. But, as a doctor, I'm always looking for the research to back it up. Well - I found it! Honey does help.
In a study of 300 children (1-5 years old) with colds and nagging nighttime coughs, half got 2 teaspoons of honey and half got a similar looking placebo before bedtime. Moms and dads evaluated their children's coughing the days before and after the intervention. Children who received honey had greater improvement in cough frequency, severity and bothersomeness (bothersomeness!) than those who received placebo. Two other similar studies showed the same - honey really does help improve cough!
Given the relative safety and low cost of honey, the WHO and AAP suggest it as an option for colds in children who are older than one year. It's always important to remember honey should be avoided in children younger than one year because of the risk of botulism.
Although there is no big study in adults, honey is commonly recommended for hospice patients as a means to reduce cough and get this - a study showed that honey healed burn wounds BETTER than fancy pharmaceutical dressings did!
So, I thought, let's try this! I started taking two teaspoons of honey before bed and I couldn't believe the improvement. I'm a believer and you better believe honey is stocked in my kitchen and my medicine cabinet from now on!
A New Year brings new horizons for me. Of late, I've been overwhelmingly excited about the new research and attention that Complimentary and Alternative Medicine practices and practitioners are garnishing.
The Journal of Clinical Oncology published two studies supporting Acupuncture's ability to decrease hot flashes and joint aches for women with breast cancer on certain medical treatments.
The Journal of Evidence Based Complimentary Alternative Medicine, showed that breast cancer patients on chemotherapy undergoing "reikki reported improvements in quality of life and mood that were greater than those seen in the usual care group." A group at Columbia has started a trial "that incorporates the role of Reiki practitioners in applying mind–body principles and energy healing to help to prepare patients for breast cancer surgery and emotionally accept the loss of their breast(s)." More here...
Two other studies presented in the Journal of Advanced Nursing concluded that reiki was helpful in reducing pain and anxiety in HIV-positive patients and immediately after reiki blood pressure levels were lower and self-reported anxiety was reduced.
A recent Cochrane review, reveals "controlled trials of acupuncture for peripheral joint osteoarthritis suggest statistically significant and clinically relevant benefits."
None of these studies have concluded that avoidance of traditional Western therapy for disease states, for example breast cancer, is a successful method of treatment. However, this growing body of literature is pointing toward a significant role of complimentary medicine alongside Western treatments in the age-old mind-body-spirit paradigm of healing.
Click here for more information on local practitioners under the Community Partners section...
Lauren Hedde, DO and Mark Turshen, MD are Family Physicians and Founders of Direct Doctors, Inc. a Direct Primary Care Practice.