The “practice” of medicine

SUMMARY: Medicine is part science, part detective and part experience but it’s a mistake to think that all health problems can be remedied by a visit to the doctor and by taking a prescription medication. AI can be a great tool for HCP’s but it’s not the answer to all of our health issues.

When it comes to medicine too many people feel instant gratification takes too answers and quick fixes from doctors who often have to sort through data like detectives. Sick? Enter some symptoms in an online symptom tool and find out what’s wrong with a click. Sorry, that’s not realistic.

Pharma companies have products to help us overcome our bad habits. High cholesterol? Don’t diet just take a statin. High blood pressure? Don’t worry about exercise just get an Rx. Trouble in bed? Forget all the things that cause ED we have a pill to help you overcome those pesky fats that may be clogging your arteries.

Some people will put all the blame on pharma companies but the reality is that the use of many prescription drugs has led to a decline in mortality from common health conditions caused by people who just don’t have the time to eat and exercise.

Americans want a quick fix drug for everything. But a lot of new cancer drugs have little impact on survival rates and drug companies are now developing “me too” drugs to take a piece of the pie.

Biogen’s questionable drug for Alzheimer’s may get approved because of political pressure, not just data and science because people believe hope is better than what drugs can, and can’t do. Biogen has yet to release the data so independent reviewers can determine if there is a clinical benefit versus the price we are going to have to pay. Wall Street is already putting pressure on the FDA to approve the drug because there is money to be made.

The only way to improve our healthcare is by treating patients like people so that they can deepen the relationship they have with their HCP. Those who think the answer to every health problem is going online and getting an Rx are doing themselves a huge disservice.

The hard truth is that medicine doesn’t always have an answer for health issues. There aren’t always “quick fixes”. The older we become the more likely we are going to experience health problems. If our bodies were cars they would be called lemons.

Millennials aren’t helping

Millennials are seeing their health decline faster than the previous generation as they age. This extends to both physical health conditions, such as hypertension and high cholesterol, and behavioral health conditions, such as major depression and hyperactivity. Without intervention, millennials could feasibly see mortality rates climb up by more than 40% compared to Gen-Xers at the same age.

These accelerated declines will result in greater demand for treatment and higher healthcare costs in the years ahead. Under the most adverse scenario, millennial treatment costs are projected to be as much as 33% higher than Gen-Xers experienced at a comparable age. This is a HUGE issue.

Medicine, the practice of medicine, has to evolve. The public has to learn that there aren’t quick fixes for poor health lifestyles and that a new medicine to treat cancer may not extend life at all. It’s time to adjust our expectations.