The Primary Care Provider Series: Post 2 of 3
Finding a primary care provider that is right for you is key to preventive health. Primary care providers act as the doorway to medical care. In this series of three posts, you will discover ways to find the provider that matches your needs.
Not all providers are the same. Different primary care providers are trained differently, have different medical philosophies, and take different approaches to your care. Therefore, it is important to find a provider that fits your health needs and your own health philosophy.
Today, we will talk primary care philosophy. As with most types of care, philosophy begets approach. Certain keywords will alert you to different philosophies, and therefore different approaches to your health. Below is a list of words that might clue you into your provider’s healthcare philosophy. These include:
Conventional or Allopathic medicine
In the US, conventional medicine providers base their practice on Western philosophy. It is what most medical schools focus their training.
Physicians (those with an MD or a DO) may become certified in a specialty area. This certification helps define their philosophy on patient care. And, some physicians become certified in multiple specialties. For primary care physicians, these specialties might include:
• Family medicine practitioners both diagnose and treat illness, and also provide care to prevent illness. This includes provide “routine checkups, health-risk assessments, immunization and screening tests, and personalized counseling on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”
• Internal medicine providers deliver “long-term, comprehensive care in the office and in the hospital, managing both common and complex illnesses of adolescents, adults and the elderly.”
• Obstetricians and gynecologists (OB/GYN) concentrate on “the health of women before, during and after childbearing years, diagnosing and treating conditions of the reproductive system and associated disorders.”
• Pediatricians focus on “the physical, emotional, and social health of children from birth to young adulthood. The Pediatrician deals with biological, social and environmental influences on the developing child and with the impact of disease and dysfunction on development.
• Preventive medicine physicians emphasize “the health of individuals and defined populations in order to protect, promote and maintain health and well-being, and to prevent disease, disability and premature death.”
According to the World Health Organization, alternative medicine simply means “a broad set of health care practices that are not part of that country’s own tradition and are not integrated into the dominant health care system.” In the US, alternative medicine is based on an Eastern philosophy.
Integrative or Complimentary medicine
Providers that practice integrative or complimentary medicine use both Western and Eastern philosophies. According to the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, this approach is “healing-oriented” and accounts for lifestyle. “It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship between practitioner and patient, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapies.”
According to the American Cancer Society, holistic medicine considers “how the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual elements of a person are interconnected to maintain health.” This approach incorporates all parts of the body, not just the illness or unhealthy part of the body.
Which of these approaches match your own philosophy on health? Let us know by commenting below.
© 2017 Caitlin W Howe, LLC
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