We have struggled with the answer to this question, because it is so different from almost anything and everything out there. We simply asked, "What could and should fundamental health care services be like?". "What would we want as the patient?" And we built it.
We keep coming back to "ideal health care" to describe it. We have also found it easiest to describe it in terms of "Real", "Health", "Care". Not that we wish to put any one or any thing down. We just want to have each of these words actually be true.
As far as a name, "Whole Health" seems to be the best name. It is "whole" in terms of covering all the basic elements of health care home base services, as well as the "wholistic" philosophy of care we believe in, would want as patients, and provide. We offer a "whole" spectrum of quality treatment options, the "whole" spectrum from real prevention through treatment, as well as believe in caring for the "whole" person, not just their broken toe or diabetes.
It is built on the backbone of "Direct Primary Care" structurally (see below).
Pretty much just what it says. Primary care providers and patients have a direct relationship without interference from "third party" insurance companies, employers, or anyone else. To have such a relationship requires that payment be directly between members and providers. It allows providers to offer care however best serves the patient, not the insurer controlling the purse strings.
Not really. People are paying through the nose for insurance that usually doesn't work for them in day to day real life. What good is that?
And typical healthcare is pretty terrible at almost everything that matters for 90% of real life. Its good for covering the huge, rare medical bills -- kind of.
Whole Health provides 80-90% of what really matters for most people for 80-90% of life. And at a crazy good price. And the built in prevention can save a ton of money short term and long term.
Not for our primary services. You can use it for labs, x-rays, MRIs, etc if you wish to. But our wholesale prices on these will be far lower than what you will otherwise pay. You will have to consider your remaining deductible for the year and what it is likely to mean in terms of coverage. Many people's deductibles are so high that they end up paying thousands of dollars at ridiculous retail prices and never meet their deductible, and get very little for the cost.
We think a combination of being a member in a "healthshare" and a health home base like Whole Health gets you the most and the best, for the best price. If you are not familiar with healthshares or healthshare ministries, check them out online. They are going through growing pains, vary from program to program, and have limitations, but do get healthcare back into the hands of the patients.
Nope. We wouldn't want that, so we don't do that. We do our best to keep things easy while not getting taken advantage of by those rare people who will try to jip you. The monthly direct payment model works because people can plan a regular monthly amount without all the ups and downs of their health care needs, and the practice can focus on being there to take care of members without spending a lot of time and money chasing the money.
The short answer is, "Yes". The longer answer is, "Yes, but we are keeping it affordable for average people."
We aren't out to just make a nice little nest for ourselves. We are out to build a better model of health care. If someone wants or needs a level of service beyond our basic great service, we will work on making it happen.
Call it "concierge", call it "direct primary care", call it a "retainer medical practice". We just want you to call it your real health home (and bring your family and friends to the health care revolution party).
"Lifestyle Medicine" is using "lifestyle" as "medicine." It is "treating the cause" as the foundation of care, not just doing endless pills and procedures for symptoms and consequences.
The science is clear and strong: the vast majority of modern medical ailments are lifestyle caused and lifestyle treatable. We believe in working with nature...supporting it in creating the health it is trying to create. And it works amazingly well!
Dr. Braman's health care pyramid graphic is worth a thousand words. In verbal form, the large majority of time and energy is best spent on correcting the lifestyle causes of illness. Dr. Braman is quite familiar with and uses aspects of Functional and Integrative Medicine, but has found that most often providers using these paradigms spend a lot of time and energy on alternative therapies that still don't adequately address the true causes. A box full of nutritional supplements isn't really much better than a prescription medication for a stress-caused problem. Changing the stress experience will do more than any pill – natural or conventional.
There is a lot of buzz about "personalized medicine" these days. Often what is meant is that a person's DNA is tested and this is used to "personalize" a treatment approach. It is a nice concept. But it turns out that 90+% of the time "your genes are not your destiny", so DNA testing is of limited value (sometimes it makes sense). The science shows that lifestyle turns genes on and off. Optimal living can turn bad genes off, and good genes on. Really cool stuff!
Our version of "personalized medicine" is to make health care about you as a person, not DNA lab test results (we may use these also from time to time). How can we take all this "personalized medicine" noise, all the latest and best science, and manage it for you in a way that produces the most abundant living with the least hype and distraction from what really matters? Yeah, that's the kind of "personalized medicine" we would want too.