If you’re like many people, you might not think twice about the health care you’re getting. But maybe you should be. Here’s why a better doctor can help you become the best version of yourself, so you can truly transform and heal.
A long term relationship with a doctor who knows you can improve your care.
The average primary care doctor in America spends 20 minutes per year with each patient —not enough time to know very much of anything about you. This is because primary care is driven by volume—most primary care doctors have about 2,300 patients under their care and see around 20 patients per day . Yet recent research has found that stronger doctor-patient relationships improves patient health and decreases medical costs.
Short visits only give doctors time to look at your most recent health history, even though your health story goes back to before you were born and continues through your entire life. It starts with family history like your mother’s autoimmune condition, your birth—the fact that you were born c-section has implications for long term obesity , the antibiotics you may have had as a kid for frequent ear infections, and the diet you have eaten for a lifetime. It includes your environment, your relationships, and how you manage stress. It includes the medications you have taken, surgeries you’ve had, any life traumas, and toxic exposures. You are much more than right now—your health story is your life story.
High stress, sedentary lives are compounding this problem, accelerating rates of chronic disease in younger populations. Chronic disease is by far the top cause of death among Americans. 90 percent of our healthcare expenditure today is due to chronic and lifestyle driven diseases , such as heart disease, asthma, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, autoimmune disease , COPD and depression.
Making lifestyle changes around sleep , exercise, nutrition, and relaxation can all help to reverse or prevent chronic illness, but the majority of health care providers are focused only on managing disease, not reversing it.
Food is the key to health. Food is medicine. And yet the majority of our calories are coming from ultra-processed foods that make us sick. The CDC projects that 1 in 3 Americans will have diabetes by 2050 . And this is almost entirely preventable through diet.
Oddly, conventional doctors trained at top institutions get little training in nutrition, meanwhile they get 500+ hours of training in pharmacology. U.S. medical schools offer only an average of 19.6 hours of nutrition education across four years of medical school. As a result, most doctors don’t feel they are equipped to give nutrition advice and just 6 percent of average physician office visits cover diet and nutrition.
Mainstream medical care is designed to temporarily cover up your problem and send you out the door, not look at the big picture and spend the time with you to fix it. Instead, 76 percent of doctor’s visits end with a prescription drug , resulting in over 4 billion prescriptions being filled each year at US pharmacies.
Advanced testing can uncover thousands of data points about your health. Is your doctor using them?
Over 75 million of these are for anti-anxiety drugs to treat conditions which are, for the most part, better managed by non-addictive behavioral approaches like meditation and exercise while avoiding caffeine and stimulants like refined sugar.
Disease is a continuum, not black and white, and you shouldn’t have to wait until you’re sick to know if your body is showing deeper signs of illness. But most primary care doctors only look at around 19 data points to evaluate your health.
The truth is, advanced personalized testing that looks at your hormones, digestive function, heart health, metabolism, and genetics can proactively identify markers of and risk factors for dysfunction in the body. That means you shouldn’t have to wait until markers are so deranged that they indicate disease. You should be looking at hundreds of markers annual to establish and track where your health is going.
Refined carbs and sugar, which promote inflammation in the body , have become a staple of most people’s diets. Not only are they bad for your physical health, but they can also negatively impact your mental health. Inflammation has been linked to depression and fatigue . In fact, inflammation can also contribute to the non-responsiveness of traditional antidepressant therapies , so prescription drugs can only mask the real cause of depression.
Rapidly emerging science is showing that there is a definite connection between your gut and brain , making it even more important than ever to focus on gut health . One study found that otherwise healthy women with more of a certain bacteria group displayed higher levels of anxiety, stress, and irritability.
Evidence-based lifestyle interventions, like exercise , meditation , diet , and supplementation can improve and often reverse symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress, but many doctors aren’t regularly prescribing these.
When you leave a doctor’s visit, you should have the tools you need to make informed decisions about how to live an optimally life. But often you’re left fumbling around on the internet to figure out the best health plan for you, with zero support or accountability. And while health coaching is one of the most effective interventions to lower costs and improve outcomes , the majority of health care providers aren’t using them to help their patients.
Medical care should come to you through video, text and on demand-services. Scheduling appointments, messaging your doctor, and accessing your medical records at any time should be seamless. You can message just about everyone else in your life in seconds, so why does your doctor require a phone call, waiting on hold, and leaving a message?
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The mainstream healthcare system is designed for insurance companies, not people. The majority of people use their primary care doctor for minor issues like urgent care like the flu or a sinus infection, or perhaps an annual physical, which has been shown to be of little value . Then when something is really wrong they jump right to specialists , often skipping primary care for high-cost, unnecessary procedures, like endoscopies, sinus surgeries, and ultrasounds, before trying to simply resolve the underlying problem.
Our mission is simple: to help you live a healthier and happier life. That’s why we decided to create health care that’s smart, human, and holistic. When you become a member at Parsley Health, you’re getting personalized, results-driven, and high tech medicine that’s also designed to be healing.
Your doctor gets to know you during a first visit that’s 60 minutes long. Then they’ll use advanced testing to look at thousands of data points to paint a picture of your health. That information is used to craft your personalized health plan that includes recommendations for diet, exercise, sleep, stress management, and other lifestyle changes.
Each member works with a health coach, who provides support and accountability, helping you to put your doctor’s recommendations into action. This is all while saving members with at least one chronic condition over $360 per year on out of pocket expenses like co-pays and specialist appointments, using seven times fewer prescription drugs than conventional doctors, and reducing symptoms across the board by 33 percent.
Dr. Robin Berzin is the founder and CEO of Parsley Health. A Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Robin completed medical school at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, and trained in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.