Why physicians have to treat the “whole person”

imagesFrom 2000 to 2011, U.S. health care spending increased from $1.6 trillion to $2.7 trillion — a big leap owing almost completely to factors other than increased demand, from the elderly or anyone else. More than nine in 10 of those dollars spent, the study found, paid for higher treatment and drug costs. Costs incurred to treat some illnesses have jumped dramatically. The U.S. government, private insurance companies and patients collectively spent $109 billion in 2010 to treat heart conditions, for example. That’s up from $72 billion in 2000. More than $40 billion was spent to treat back pain in 2010, up from 22 billion in 2010. It’s now more important for medical professionals to treat the whole patient, not just specific conditions. Continue reading