How to Choose a Provider
“For decades, options have been limited for those seeking a true partnership with their healthcare adviser,” observes Andrew Weil, MD, a Harvard-educated physician and author of Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Physical and Spiritual Well-Being. Trips to the doctor are often-times rushed visits, leading to a lapse in the healthcare services received by the patient and hampering the physician/patient relationship.
Today, a more integrative approach to healthcare has resonated with a growing number of Americans. With an emphasis on the value of a partnered relationship among doctors and their patients, focus on preventative care as well as viewing a person’s health in respect to all facets - physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, environmental and social, has become significant. When looking for a healthcare provider who will offer knowledge and understanding of complementary and integrative modalities, here are some thoughts to keep in mind:
The provider should be trained in holistic medicine.
When selecting a physician or practitioner, keep in mind the method of referral. Was it professional or personal and do you know someone who has seen this healthcare provider? Just as other professionals are recommended by people, make sure you trust the person or business from whom you’ve received the suggestion, and do your homework. Research the organization - their technical certifications, professional organizations or hospital affiliations.
Your visit addresses you as a whole, not just the symptoms that brought you in.
Because holistic healthcare places a focus on wellness and a healthy partnership between you and your doctor, the actual visit and length of time should be considered. More importantly, it’s the content of the appointment that truly matters, so make sure you feel the visit was adequate. Holistically-minded doctors tend to ask patients about diet, exercise, and other lifestyle habits, including stress level, emotional well-being, and even spiritual beliefs and practices.
You experience an open and honest appointment.
For many, a visit to the doctor often causes anxiety and worry. It’s important that your healthcare provider not only put you at ease, but be open to discussing your concerns and your options. You should feel comfortable enough to inform and educate yourself on other options and opinions, and the doctor or practitioner should be respectful and helpful regarding outside research.
Drugs are not the only solution they offer.
Whereas an integrative healthcare provider may recognize the need for a prescription, in many cases there are other methods that treat or aid in the treatment of certain ailments. For example, a patient with a family history of heart disease may be prescribed medication but an assessment of lifestyle choices, exercise, diet, environment factors should be taken into consideration. A holistic physician will address those areas of a patient’s life and discuss or suggest any improvement to be made that might allow for more efficient treatment as a whole.
You would refer them to a family member or friend.
Patients should have a good level of confidence, personal comfort, and trust in their physician and practitioner. A good measure of a how well you trust the practice and physician is to ask yourself, “Would I recommend this person to a family member and close friend?”