For years, fitness and medical professionals have advocated the need for bridging the gap that exists between preventative care and chronic pain and disease. Medicine today does the heavy lifting of disease management, acute trauma, and injury. We are an advanced nation in regard to communicable disease, traumatic and emergency medicine. However, the system is imploding with high costs of care coupled with an epidemic of unresolved chronic disease and pain within traditional insurance-covered care. Inside the healthcare system, the financial and political power lands at the top of the chain – pharmaceutical producers, government, insurance companies, the food industry, hospitals, and surgeons – yet we are failing at producing successful and sustainable care.
A new measure for quality of care
At a recent nationally recognized orthopedic conference I was part of a roundtable of practice executives reviewing key elements on running a profitable practice. Each group was discussing how many patients their top producing physicians were able to see per day. One group was cheering that their top physician is able to see 80 patients a day. Another said 70, and another 60 as if that was a badge of honor. I spoke up and said, “Let’s assume that doctor only uses the bathroom once, walks to the next room between each patient, washes their hands after each patient, and somehow spends no time in his medical charts. At best he or she has three to four minutes to spend with each patient. I would not want that care for you, a family member, or anyone I would refer. We should be ashamed of seeing this as quality care.”
As a result, over the last decade, we have seen a rising trend of medical providers experiencing burnout, dissatisfaction, and moral conflict. Many have decided to go against the grain of the standard care in medicine and open functional, lifestyle, regenerative, and direct primary care clinical models that have been formed in an effort to provide restorative, root cause, and preventative medicine that can reverse the rise of chronic disease. It’s a model where medical providers have the proper time to listen, evaluate, diagnose, empathize, connect, provide options, coach, and empower patients towards optimal health.
The third leading cause of death right now in the United States is medical negligence, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. This is an alarming fact because many medical errors are entirely preventable. Functional medicine physician and pioneer, Joseph Mercola recently stated at the healthcare event, Mindshare, “Those in control are building the largest tribe and protecting advertisers. It’s a threat, PR firms are doing all they can to discredit those that want to heal the world.” We have the science and evidence to not let a diagnosis be the reason for a life of decline. However, we are all fighting Goliath on steroids. Those in the position of profits-over-people are doing their best to keep education, research, innovation, and successful outcomes from progressing to be an option for all. Alternative healthcare providers attempting to educate the public are seeing censorship through Google and social media on topics such as vaccinations, lifestyle medicine, plant medicine, and functional medicine. In response, many health leaders are looking to create an alternative search engine specifically designed for uncensored health-related information.
Think differently and independently
To begin to redefine healthcare, it requires us to think differently and independently about how to slow the rise of chronic disease. Here are four frameworks from which to begin to explore new solutions in healthcare:
- See to believe
Keep an open mind and realize that most exercise and nutrition plans have their place for the right person. Visit alternative offices and practitioners to see the outcomes they are having with patients. See if the service or treatment has a history of successful outcomes that can be consistently repeated.
- Look at evidence
Practitioners often state that the research shows there is no evidence. Ask them about the last paper or research article they have read on the subject matter. For instance, there are several new research studies showing the effectiveness of regenerative treatments such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cells that have new data to support effectiveness compared to other standard of care treatments.
- Experience it
The only thing better than seeing it, is having had it work for you. If it worked for others, it may work for (you) others.
- Know the research and the outcomes
Just because the FDA approves a drug, or that surgery is your only option, you have no guarantee it’s going to heal you or help you without affecting another part of your system or worse.
Requirements for redefining healthcare
If the entire medical system turned around today and added preventative and less invasive options like nutrition, fitness, health coaching and energy medicine, we would not be prepared to fill the immediate demand. Consumers seeking optimal health are now aware and seeking expert health professionals who can listen, empower, hold them accountable, and help deliver successful outcomes.
Private clinics offering cash procedures and preventative care need to charge more to be able to spend more time with patients. This would allow providers to dig deeper with root cause lab analysis and would offer a greater probability to help lead patients toward successful outcomes. Healthcare in general will perform significantly better when providers are paid based on successful outcomes as opposed to time and service fulfillment. True healthcare is in demand for personal trainers, health coaches, and those with exercise physiology and kinesiology backgrounds to help deliver provider-recommended, outcome-based treatment programs. Most medical providers do not have the training, education or time to provide the nutrition, exercise or individualized care for patients that health and fitness professionals are trained to provide. Therefore, this article is a battle cry to the next-level fitness professional.
Not one doctor, trainer, diet or even single field of study has the answer to deliver the best health to the world. This all-encompassing effort can include surgeons, researchers, regenerative medicine specialists, functional medicine providers, behavioral therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, nutritionists, personal trainers, massage therapists, physical therapists, energy healers, naturopaths and coaches; not one alone has had all the answers. It will take a combination of the right internal, physical, emotional, nutritional and spiritual support to take a person on the journey towards optimal health.
The only way for primary care and transformative clinical models to succeed are with patient behavior change. Clinics need certified personal trainers and health coaches who have expertise in the more specific needs to help patients follow through on the recommended treatment plans. The medical fitness professionals of the future can fill the gap by becoming fluent in any of the following niches:
- General biometric lab analysis (serum, gut, nutrient, saliva, heavy metals, etc.)
- Genetics and epigenetics
- Bio-hacking technology and equipment such as near and far inferred light, PEMF, vibration therapy, cryotherapy, hyperbaric chambers, and many more
- Energy work
- Functional movement evaluation and corrective exercising programming
- Artificial Intelligence
- Bracing, foam rolling, taping
- Safe and progressive exercise for all conditions
- Health coaching centered around: purpose, hydration, nreathing, oxygen, nature, mindfulness, stress management, communication, preparation, sleep, nutrition, and movement.
- Food sensitivities
- Mental health
- Disease management
- Group health education
- In-home fitness products
- Medical compliance
- Corporate wellness
The demand is rising and will explode in the coming decade. Private practices are on the rise. Self-insured companies are seeking savings from healthcare costs. The equipped health and fitness professional will have no shortage of opportunity. If you have a solid knowledge base in any of these areas, there is significant opportunity to work for, partner, refer to, or carve out your own fitness and health business of the future.
To change the entire healthcare system over the next few years, we need everyone to collaborate to create universal consensus where all these areas are necessary to comprehensively treat patients. This will require leading experts in all areas of health to come together. Groups such as the MedFit Network are collaborating with medical leaders and are dedicated to raising the bar for personal trainers by defining how the medical fitness professional of the future can support the necessary shift. Those who are filled with passion and purpose for the medical fitness model of the future will see the monetary rewards of their exceptional work as the demand will outnumber the caregivers.
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This article was featured in MedFit Professional Magazine.
JR Burgess found his purpose for helping people be free from pain at a young age. JR has played an integral role in replicating a proven integrated model of care in more than 80 clinics worldwide. He is driven to make the greatest contribution by changing the way healthcare can be delivered by integrating profitable, regenerative, functional and lifestyle medicine into clinics world-wide. He is a husband, father, two-time #1 bestselling author, and international speaker.