There was a time when your local MD was the only person you would go to in times of health related woes. Be them minor aches and pains, or major health concerns, there was only one source you knew of that could tell you not only what was wrong, but how it was going to be made better.
As we grow as a society so grows our own knowledge of personal health. A great portion of the population is learning how to self educate themselves and realize not only the current flaws in the medical structure, but alternative resources that can be found in order to combat some of the problems that modern medicine was once thought to be the only remedy for.
People have many theories or arguments as to why things are shifting the way they are and why the medical community is thriving less and less. Some blame the intervention of aggressive drug companies, some blame the lack of enthusiasm in modern GP’s that would sooner write a prescription than spend the time educating their client, and some blame their local government for restricting the ability for medical facilities to operate the way they should. These are all valid arguments, and there are many, many more with equal validity- but the true problem in medicine today is its ultimate disconnect from the modern community; the inability to relate to the updated knowledge and mindset of the modern human being. The medical community has two choices as time moves forwards: change, grow, and reconnect with its people, or fade, crumble, and disappear into the past.
The Napster Age
Remember when music first became free through sites such as Napster? The music industry was furious, fearful, and at a loss. Billions of dollars were spent trying to prevent the sharing of online music and in keeping the music industry the way it has always been; and why not? The music industry was a money making machine that had been operating pretty much the same way since the 1940’s. We went from records, to 8 tracks, to cassettes, to CD’s- but the creation, packaging, distribution, and profit from music was always constant.
The music industry knew that with ability to share music through online communities, the industry was in trouble. Instead of looking at this as an opportunity to evolve and find new/interesting ways to run their model and succeed through change, they wasted billions of dollars trying to prevent the world from spinning. If they had only seen where the future was headed and adjusted accordingly, they would’ve changed the music industry as we knew it, saved a ton of money, and continued to succeed within an updated system of music.
Medicine is in the same boat, and it is being handled the same way.
Now that people have the ability to share information online they are more aware of many things. Firstly that they have the ability to prevent many health problems by educating themselves on what is good for them to eat, how important exercise is, and how to access the avenues in order to live a better life. They also have a new insight into the drug industry and its deep ties to the current medical system. Most people are starting to understand the motivations of billion dollar drug companies and their great influence over the medical community. The combination of understanding how to better your own life without the medical community, as well as all of the ever-growing education of flaws within the medical establishment is bad news for medicine. They all know it, but much like the music industry they are squeezing their eyes shut and hoping this will all go away.
Drug companies, Genetic Engineering groups like Monsanto, and all the like are putting forth billions of dollars in funds in order to shut down the natural medicine industry and make any natural product that can help remedy the human body available only by prescription. This is one example of many on the agenda’s of these kinds of companies, but it shows you their combative approach to the current situation. Much like the music industry they are too late, and will ultimately, fail.
Medical practitioners aren’t to blame on that level, but they are still fully resistant to the current change in the community. I believe that all (or at least the majority of) MD’s are out to help people. They are out to make the world a better place and serve their community- but they also have their heads buried in the sand when it comes to how the world and industry is changing, and they are losing their audience.
With the level and speed of information sharing the way it currently is- the medical world needs to change. It is no longer useful to resist your own people like the music industry tried to do- rather, you need to change your approach and rebuild a trusting relationship, and more importantly a ‘connection’ with the world.
The Paradigm Shift
We live in a truly amazing age, and I don’t know how many of us realize that. We live in the first and only age known to man in which we can share any information with any person in the world within less than a second. The fact that ANY PERSON can do it with even the most basic means of technology is truly amazing and groundbreaking. This is a time that will be written in history books- and this generation of human beings will change the entire direction of the planet. It is unbelievably exciting when you think about it.
The problem for many industries is that the world has the ability to change far faster than the industries want to change themselves. This is why you see so many failing industries in the world; not because they deliver bad products, because their staff are ineffective, or because nobody wants their products or services- but because they refuse to change in order to accommodate an ever changing world.
This is something that the medical community needs to understand- and they need to understand it quickly. Like it or not, they are an industry just like any other- selling products and services in exchange of financial gain. And just like all the other industries their refusal to adapt and change is allowing the world to look past them.
Health- The Key to Reconnecting
People in this world (or at least a significant portion of them) are starting to not only understand, but become enthusiastic about health. They are taking control of their own lives from a very fundamental level and learning how important it is to take care of their bodies. Even with this change, however, they still seek out some sort of outside assistance to keep them confident in times of health uncertainty. People are finding Naturopathic Doctors, Chinese Medicine, and all kinds of alternative methods to modern medicine. I think it’s important to note that, because it isn’t as if people who are educated in health want less help in their lives- but they want help from people who have the same values, ideals, and principles as they do. What I’m getting at is people aren’t seeking modern medicine less and less because they simply don’t want help from anyone when it comes to health related issues- they just want help from people who care about what THEY care about- and for a typical individual who understands health and wellness, that person is not an M.D.
Modern Medicine practices a disease model. That means most of their education and scope of practice revolves around waiting until there is an issue, and then finding a way to treat that issue. There is nothing wrong with that and people need to understand that medicine (the way we know it today) came from a place that required practioners to solve existing problems- not prevent them from happening. It was also established in a time where life was so simple in terms of people having access to ONLY good sources of food and in a time where everyone had to be active each day in order to get work done. This meant that the need for prevention wasn’t there like it is today- it was much more valuable to have a medical model that could diagnose an existing problem and find a way to fix it.
With that in mind the need for preventative medicine has been growing rapidly over the last century- and of course, the medical world has refused to change along with that rapid increase in need. This is what has created such a massive disconnect between people and modern medicine.
Music is now medicine, record companies are now hospitals, and Napster is now information about taking care of yourself. The medical industry now has to become a source of accurate and effective preventative health information, and stop resisting the change that is happening before its eyes.
Don’t Tear it Down- Just Build with Better Bricks
The medical community isn’t going to just disappear, and if it did I think a lot of us ‘health extremists’ who may see that as an ideal situation would quickly realize what a huge loss and mistake it would be. Instead it needs to take a new direction with new objectives, and a better understanding of how to relate to its every evolving population of patients.
While a lot of the technology that has been implemented into medicine has been controversial and it some cases even dangerous or counterproductive, there has still been (and will continue to be) great technologies and advances is medical science that can do amazing things for the world’s population. And while a lot of the operation and structure of the medical world has become stagnant and ineffective, there is still a lot about the medical system that can be quite advantageous to the world as well. Not to mention the great need for emergency care, care for the elderly, and care for the large population of people who quite frankly just can’t care for themselves.
We get so caught up in what is wrong with medicine these days that we forget about all the things that are also right and benefit many people that surround us. We forget that the best solution is a change, a medium, and the letting go of old ineffective ideas for new effective ones.
If the medical system puts a large shift towards educating their MD’s on health, prevention, and patient education- the damaged relationships with its patients and image will repair and recover. If it however decides to fight tooth and nail to protect a dying system of sickness and disease medicine, the people will disconnect and seek professionals that are more relatable to how they view life and wellness.
Therein lies the crossroads that the medical community is facing- follow the music industry and fight for a dying system that is inevitably going to change with or without you, or learn from other industries mistakes and give the people not only what they want, but what the world (currently) needs. And remember- the choice doesn’t have to be any more complicated than choosing to connect with your patients on a level that makes them feel secure, confident, and like you care about their views on health- but following your own agenda with your fingers in your ears yelling “LA LA LA LA LA LA” isn’t a great way to convey that message.