Slow medicine is a term that was coined in Italy around 20 years ago. Inspired by the “slow food” movement, which rejects fast food that’s made in bulk for a cheap price, slow medicine rejects the idea that patients need to be churned out as quickly as possible to keep the price of healthcare as low as possible. Lifestyle medical doctor Dr Lucy Burns explains how taking time to get to the root of an issue is worthwhile.
WHAT IS IT?
“This is a practice in medicine where the doctor takes more time to delve into the root cause of a medical problem, rather than just addressing the symptoms,” says Dr Burns. “It involves a thorough discussion with the patient about all aspects of their life including their past history, work, social circumstances, sleep and nutrition. The treatment often involves addressing lifestyle measures rather than using pharmaceuticals.”
She notes this isn’t common because our current healthcare system relies on doctors taking many short consultations each day. A typical appointment will take 10 to 15 minutes, and you’re likely to be referred to a specialist or given a pharmacy prescription. For urgent and acute medicine, this approach might work, but for more complicated, chronic matters it’s nearly impossible to find the cause in such a short amount of time.
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