While reading some online content the other day, I happened across a paragraph that gave me pause. The article was addressing the work of primary care providers. Nothing earth shaking in what I read until I saw a sentence that said we should ask the patient how they define health. WOW!!! This is a major point that we often overlook. Taking notice of this one item can explain a great deal about our patient’s health behavior.
Those of us who have chosen an occupation in the health and wellness field have been well educated in the classic definition of health. We study normal lab values, charts, tables and a plethora of other items that we use to define good health. Variations to these normal values are usually indicative of some disease process. When a healthcare provider sees a value outside of the normal, we have this deep, burning desire to manage and correct the process that produced the offending value. We will often consult fellow practitioners to get their consul on how to best address the problem that we have found. Then we use a variety of medications and procedures to try and bring all of the values we measure back to the physiologic normal. At that point we pronounce the patient healthy.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are approximately 12 million workers in the healthcare sector. That seems like a lot of people until you consider the population of the entire United States, slightly more than 300 million people. Thus, only about 4% of the population looks at health the way that a nurse, pharmacist, physician or other healthcare worker does. The other 96% probably define good health or wellness in ways that we find difficult to comprehend.
When a healthcare worker … Read the rest