Taking control of your health

Listened to a fascinating TedTalk that looks at how physicians can work together to better diagnose and treat patients, but also, how patients can take a more active role in their care.

Eric Dishman has endured more than a fair share of health issues, but when faced with a dire diagnosis, he decided to take some control. He sees the foundations of our current healthcare system as faulty, dependent on too much guesswork and patient passivity, but he also poses a potential solution. Eric believes that if the fundamentals of care are developed in three main ways: caregiver networking, the personal customization of care, and what he calls “care anywhere,” which translates to the constant availability and accessibility of health advice regarding basic care, that people can more fully understand and direct their healthcare.

Dishman’s idea isn’t that far from what my colleagues and I have been aiming for with the Hospice and Palliative Care Advisory Group. The more informed we are, the better our decisions, and if we need more information, if we want an educated but unbiased opinion, it ought to be available. In this digital age, it should never be that difficult to get.

Eric closed by introducing the crowd to the woman who donated a kidney and saved his life. For many, it won’t be one person or one surgery, but it will be about making decisions and understanding that we can have a hand in the outcome. To watch the TedTalk, click here. To read about the Hospice and Palliative Care Advisory Group, click here.

Thanks for reading.

-Dr. Joe

Healthy Aging

Recently, I was reminded of a study released back in late 2015, that took a long term look at the health, success, and happiness of a group of men. The Harvard Study of Adult Development began in 1938, and collected data from a demographically mixed group of men over the course of their lives. They asked questions and made in person evaluations to look at one primary thing: what has the most impact on happiness?

The results were widely reported, and you may have seen or heard about it already, but it’s good to be reminded. The study showed that the number one factor in both happiness and longevity is close, dependable relationships. That’s not to say that people don’t argue or have their ups and downs, but if you can truly count on your partners and friends, you are far more likely to live a healthy, long, and happy life. They have proven that our physical health is directly tied to our emotional and spiritual health, so keeping the job that makes you miserable, and hanging on to the relationships that harm you can actually shorten your life.

Many of the families of the remaining participants are now a part of the ongoing study which has added some diversity to the mix, but I doubt the findings will change much. What it does do, is remind us to work at the relationships that bring us joy, and follow the path that brings us caring community.

To read about the ongoing study, go here. For good tips on coupled relationships, click here. To watch a video about this study, click here.

Thanks for reading-

-Dr. Joe