While these words sound new and cutting edge—and they are—in reality, they also describe approaches that are not new but old. The archetypal family doctor called back then a GP (General Practitioner), who delivered four generations of babies, who knew the stories of his town, the people’s strengths and failings and challenges, practiced holistic medicine. He (less often, she) had a context in which to place his patient’s lives, saw them as individuals, who were also likely his neighbors and his friends. Patients were not—as all too often happens now—reduced to numbers on a lab report or the few words of a diagnosis.
The average duration of a visit with a Family Doc in the US ranges from 7 – 13 minutes. The average Family Doc will see thirty to sixty patients each day, running two or three exam rooms simultaneously. These visits often reduce to the following: the patient presents symptoms, the doctor knows that these symptoms equate to a diagnosis or, more accurately, a diagnosis code, (it is these codes that the doctor will submit to the insurance company for payment, and whether it took three minutes or ninety to generate that code, the payment to the medical office does not vary). Finally, this diagnosis is then translated into a prescription pharmaceutical drug. Seven minutes per visit, likely a prescription for the drug store and the patient is on their way: the names may change, but the process is bankrupt.
At Haven, we have rejected this formula. An initial visit at Haven is scheduled for a minimum of ninety minutes. We embrace the vision of accessible, holistic medical care that places the individual at the center. As people and as patients, we are more complicated than a four or five digit code that defines a diagnosis and gives us a label; we have histories, connections, disappointments and triumphs, and it is not the goal at Haven to get patients to not be sick but to be well. Our practitioners look to underlying causes rather than easy placement of a band-aid on a symptom.
Our goal is to help patients find their optimal health through the integration of complementary and traditional medicines. The practitioners here do indeed write prescriptions for pharmaceutical drugs, for these can be valuable tools in the quest for health, but they do this last instead of first, employing other approaches—be it nutritional guidance, the use of supplements, body therapies, mind•body•spirit medicine and more—for much as the medical industry would like it to be so, we believe medicine is not simply a science. It is the artistic application of a body of (evolving, fluid, moving forward, sliding backward, moving forward in a different direction) scientific knowledge to each and every patient. There are as many formulas as there are people.