Consider a typical conversation between a general practitioner and her patient today. Perhaps it’s one you’ve had.
“Well, Ms. Jones, I see that your weight has gone up and your body mass index is high. Your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are high. You’re prediabetic. Here are three prescriptions; take them every day and I’ll see you again in six months.”
Under a wellness—not illness—model of healthcare, one that’s consultative and preventive, Dr. David Eisenberg helps us envision how that conversation might play out differently in the future.
“Ms. Jones, I’m concerned that your BMI is creeping up. Are you? How concerned are you? Is it something you’d like to talk with me about? If so, why? If you’re interested in change, what’s your goal? What’s your ideal state? What do you miss about feeling that way? What will it take to get there? Are you willing to do that work? How can I enhance your motivation and help you? If I refer you to our teaching kitchen here in our medical center to help you learn how to cook healthy foods, would that be of interest for you? If I refer you to our movement specialist, would you be interested in creating a plan to be a bit more active?”
Today, he says, if you have cancer or diabetes, you have a whole team of expertise and support to manage the disease. “But in the future, in a pay-for-performance system, imagine that we’re going to need to refer people with a prescription to learn about exercise and movement, to go to a teaching kitchen and learn how to cook and buy foods wisely, and we’ll have wellness centers where people learn about movement and mindfulness. That all might happen in a single setting.” And, he continues, if the TKC is successful with its demonstration project, this just may become a paid benefit in all insurance programs. It could happen.
Bryn’s long career in publishing took a left turn sometime around 2010, when she discovered the joy of food writing. Since then, she’s found professional nirvana as the editor of Edible Ohio Valley, author of The Findlay Market Cookbook, and occasional instructor at The Cooking School at Jungle Jim’s. Find her seasonal recipes at writes4food.com.