THE DISTINCTION I WANT TO MAKE IS THAT BOTH QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE INFORMATION NEED TO BE GIVEN EQUAL ATTENTION. DO NOT PLACE QUANTITATIVE INFORMATION ON A PEDESTAL ABOVE QUALITATIVE.
This past weekend I attended a continuing education seminar through the McKenzie Institute, an amazing assessment and treatment method. As I was standing in the back of the room (yes, I'm that person because sitting too long drives me crazy) watching the instructor assess a patient, it hit me... One of the reasons this method works so well is because although it utilizes quantitative information, THE QUALITATIVE INFORMATION DOES NOT GET OVERLOOKED.
The world of science and much of the world outside of science rely on quantitative information. Measurements, recordings and tangible evidence are the focus of research studies. People discuss game scores, pounds they lost, horsepower in cars, number of emails in their inbox, length of time they worked and the list could go on. But let's apply this thinking to the world of medicine.
Being an evidence-informed doctor, I absolutely agree with using quantitative information to progress healthcare.
Here's the problem: WE FORGET ABOUT QUALITY.
What about the description of interactions? As opposed to attempting to quantify everything, we should absorb the environment around us. Describe (mentally, not aloud) how engaged your doctor is in your visit or how thorough of a physical exam is performed or how educated you are on your condition....
The qualitative description suddenly becomes immensely important.
Consider someone with years of education and "alphabet soup" behind their name indicating many, many credentials. Does the number of their credentials indicate they will provide quality care? It could, but not always. We must consider the quality of situations.
Although qualitative information does not hold as prestigious a position as quantitative information in research... there is still significant validity. Especially in medicine, quantitative information is the "gold standard". We know for a fact how many milligrams of a drug to administer, how deep an incision needs to be, how much motion occurs at a joint and how much time it takes for a procedure (medical coding is sometimes based on this). What about the rest of the picture? This quantifiable information provides only some insight into a much more complex organism.
Let's take joint motion as an example: I can move your shoulder complex through various motions and take measurements to determine exact degrees occurring in a particular direction (quantitative). However, even if you can achieve full shoulder extension (reaching behind) what does the movement look like? Do you experience grinding/clicking or cold sensation in your hand? Does your scapula move appropriately in relation to your thoracic cage and neck? Are you compensating with inappropriate muscles to achieve the full range of motion? These are obviously all qualitative observations and ones that I make on a daily basis.
At the end of the day, our society places too great an emphasis on quantity and too little emphasis on quality. The quality of: our work, our interactions with others and our overall life. Life is not simply measured in the number of years you have lived but in the experiences you have had (it sounds a little corny, but it is true).
IF WE ALL FOCUSED MORE ON THE QUALITY OF OUR EXPERIENCES, EVERYONE WOULD BENEFIT, ESPECIALLY IN HEALTHCARE.
Recently, I met with a colleague who informed me of a rather unimpressive appointment with a surgeon that resulted in seeking a second opinion. As the research on other qualified surgeons began, one with an appealing section on their website titled "4 questions to ask your doctor" caught her attention.
Ordinarily I would not have given this a second thought. But, something about the excitement in her voice and the light in her eyes forced me to re-consider.
I then made my mind alternate between 2 viewpoints, the doctor's and the patient's.
From the patient's perspective, why is a list of "4 questions to ask your doctor" so enticing? What makes this different from other websites she had seen? Why did she decide to stop searching and schedule an appointment with this doctor?
From the doctor's perspective, why is a list of "4 questions to ask your doctor" so enticing? (I know, same question as before, just from a different character's view) What would make me decide to post this on my site? Why would a patient stop searching and decide to schedule an appointment with me?
As we continued discussing my colleague's medical options, it became extremely apparent that what she was seeking was a connection. She wanted to feel that she could connect with this surgeon, rather than just simply agreeing to a procedure because the doctor had experience and determined it was necessary. Although this surgeon did have past experience, it was this doctor's ability to remain real and humble that sparked my colleagues interest.
In medicine, as well as life, I think we all seek connections. The ability to connect with another person is an inherent trait we all possess. (this can occur on many different levels)
Look at how social media allows us to connect with others all over the globe (you can even quantify how many people you've connected with). Look at how 2 friends meet over breakfast. Look at how a father and son play a game together.
It's all about connections, the HUMAN-NESS of our lives.
After thinking about this situation from the doctor and patient standpoint, it is apparent that we yearn to connect with others. Even if the other is standing at the OR table while we are under anesthesia....
So, let's get to the:
4 Questions to Ask Your Chiropractor
1. How do adjustments work?
2.What will my first visit look like?
3. Are you willing to co-manage with another clinician?
4. What are the risks/benefits/alternatives to your treatment?
Next time you interact with a chiropractor or another healthcare professional, think about asking similar questions. You already know the WHY.
My colleague's appointment with this doctor was not a disappointment; there was a connection, a human-ness to the interaction.
In the first week of the new year, I wanted to contribute to the whirlwind of New Years resolution articles on the web.
As we begin 2016, everyone will be discussing their goals for this year. Whether these are the always popular "I'm losing weight." goal OR the "I want to learn a new language this year." goal OR the "I'm giving up caffeine and alcohol." goal, there is that little voice in our minds telling us how unrealistic our goals are.
(I'm borrowing that from my church's recent sermon series, but I know they won't mind)
FEAR NOT. If you are truly determined to lose weight or learn a new language or give up a vice, then DO IT. But, do it properly.
"What do you mean by that?", you ask. This is what I mean:
Set realistic goals, research appropriate benchmarks and methods that others may have employed, find a support person/group to lift you up when you're feeling down, document short-term goals that are progressing you towards your overall goal.
Most important of all...FEAR NOT. Do not let setbacks become permanent roadblocks to your end goal. If you stumble, learn from it and continuing moving forward; always with your goal in focus.
Stay FOCUSED. Stay POSITIVE. Stay HUNGRY. (for your goal, not food if you are looking to lose weight) These tips are just a few things I've learned along the way and I hope they provide some support on your journey into 2016.
Another important idea for this whole "New Year, New You" trend is that some of you may not have a ground-breaking goal for this year. Many of us tend to have less dramatic, less evident goals for our lives.
Maybe your goal is to just walk your dog 3 times per day instead of once. Maybe your goal is to have 1 cup of coffee per day instead of 4 cups. Maybe your goal is to run a 5k once per month. Whatever your goal, BIG or SMALL, utilize support tools and FEAR NOT.
(By the way, although this is based-off of a Christian concept -- ALL of us can rally around this idea of 'Fear Not' to better ourselves, regardless of beliefs)
HAPPY NEW YEAR (of NO FEAR)!!