From simple diagnosis to knowing all about your body: a trip to the new GP


Stomach pain, headache, or simple pain in the toe; with all sorts of pains, discomforts and more we go to the general practitioners office. The steps are quite common for everyone and most ‘pains’. The GP sometimes asks questions, maybe gives some simple medicine and you have to come back in several weeks. The GP has had a general education on healthcare. This means they know a little bit about everything, but they don’t have a specialty that they know a lot about. This means they can give general diagnosis, but need to send the patient to a specialist when they cannot give an exact diagnosis. Some GPs are sending patients quite easily to a specialist, others are just giving some medication and see if that works in a couple of weeks. The diagnosis has to be made by combining the symptoms that a patient describes with the knowledge of the GP and sometimes a physical examination. But the main focus here is to treat the symptoms, so that the patient is no longer uncomfortable.

The financing for this process comes from the health insurance companies, at least for a large part. The patient has something that is calls ‘own risk’, which is an amount they will have to pay themselves first, before the insurance company will start paying. Healthcare like the GP is always covered by the insurance company, but the care by specialists is not always covered, as also the medication that is not always covered by insurance. So, with minor health issues that a GP can handle on his own, the costs for the patients are very low in general.

This process has worked for years, so why try to find another way to do this? I think we can do better and I got the feeling I’m not alone in this opinion.  The GP giving a general diagnosis does not mean that the cause of the problems is known exactly. So, treatment is solely to get rid of the symptoms. By not treating the cause, the symptoms can return and another visit to the GP and treatment will be necessary. Sometimes the diagnosis is not correct and the real issues are not treated.

How nice would it be to find out exactly what is wrong in your body within 5 minutes? This can be done by using a bodyscan. This method is sometimes used in hospitals, but not as a ‘standard procedure’. Using this technology in a GP office will make the work of the GP a lot easier and the results of a visit a lot better. The GP can find out what the problem is behind the symptoms and treat the real issue, and not only the symptoms.

How does it work then? There are multiple ways and multiple types of bodyscans. One of them works as follows. You put your hands and feed on special metal plates, you get a saturation meter on your finger and two electrodes on your forehead. These are all hooked up to a computer with a special program. This will measure the total body on cellular level. The program will show after the measurement where the deflections are in the body. Combining the outcomes of the bodyscan with the knowledge of the GP will give a more accurate diagnosis and a real cause for the symptoms the patient is experiencing. The GP will have to update their knowledge and get some experience on working with a bodyscan in order to use it correctly in making a diagnosis. All processes in the body are linked to each other, so with a deflection in one process, someone can experience problems within another process. So the knowledge on this links within the body will be crucial for the GP to interpret the bodyscan right.

Aside from making easier and better diagnosis by the GP, the bodyscan can also be used for prevention. It also shows small deflections that do not yet cause problems, but might in the near future. This way the patient can anticipate on this and prevent getting ill. In the Netherlands, prevention is not really the focus. The health insurance companies do not support prevention as much as other countries in Europe. We only go see a GP if we already have symptoms. Aside from being more comfortable for the patient, prevention can also ensure lower costs for the insurance companies. Less treatment with expensive medication will be needed if less people become ill. Next to that, if the diagnosis is that treatment is necessary, the patient can be directed to the right specialists and right treatment. So, no more unnecessary treatment.

So why is it not yet used? It isn’t a new technology, but it is not yet accepted. The GP (and also some other specialists) don’t have the exact knowledge for using a bodyscan. Also, using the bodyscan at the GP’s will change the healthcare because of the difference in diagnosis and the possibility of prevention. I think the pharmaceutical industry and health care industry are not ready for this change.

 

References:

Corpus Health. (2018). Bodyscan – Corpus Health. [online] Available at: http://www.corpushealth.nl/bodyscan/ [Accessed 16 Feb. 2018].

Dracup, K. and Bryan-Brown, C. (2018). Doctor of Nursing Practice—MRI or Total Body Scan?. [online] Ajcc.aacnjournals.org. Available at: http://ajcc.aacnjournals.org/content/14/4/278.full [Accessed 16 Feb. 2018].

Huisartsprotocollen.nl. (2018). praktische protocollen voor de huisartsenpraktijk. [online] Available at: http://www.huisartsprotocollen.nl/index.htm [Accessed 17 Feb. 2018].

Toekomstvisie_-_nhg-standpunt_kernwaarden_huisartsgeneeskunde_juli_2011. (2018). 1st ed. [ebook] NHG. Available at: https://www.nhg.org/sites/default/files/content/nhg_org/uploads/toekomstvisie_-_nhg-standpunt_kernwaarden_huisartsgeneeskunde_juli_2011.pdf [Accessed 17 Feb. 2018].

 

 

 

 

 

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