The Future of Medicine Part 3: The Future is Now

In part 2 of the Future of Medicine series, I described the flaws with chronic disease treatment in Canada. I then proposed that integrative medicine is a logical solution.

The final part of the series explores what an integrative medicine clinic would look like. As you will always see in my blog, I will specifically focus on Canada. We have a unique conservative environment , which is different than the USA. It is clear that integrative medicine is further ahead down south, but thankfully, there a large wave of support and research in Canada.

Our Problem and Solution

Innovation starts with identifying a problem and coming up with a novel solution.

Problem: The system takes a reactive approach to illness, and is falling behind a huge burden of disease.

Solution: Change the focus to disease prevention and health optimization. This will reduce the incidence of disease.

Where is the best place for this change to start?

If we want to fundamentally change the system, we need to change the way doctors think.

I recently saw a wonderful speaker named Dr. Benjamin Kligler. He is a researcher who began teaching resident doctors (in training). I was impressed that his group was able to bring a high level of change into the curriculum at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in New York. In his talk, he explained that through the years with his medical trainees, he focused less on scientific information, and more on how to approach life.

He made it a priority that his students strive for a clean diet, proper sleep, and a manageable level of stress. His theory is that the students have the rest of their careers to learn countless hours of information. You need to start by moulding their understanding and respect for good health.

A Leader for Change

Although I did not learn these important values during my training, I did find it midway through my career. There was not one specific moment, rather a culmination of life events that led me down this path.

Along the way, I have associated with many like-minded physicians who have seen the wealth of benefit that comes with an open-minded practice. Through this creation of an integrative medicine think tank of sorts, we have been able to create our own system that operates how we think a medical model should.

A Model Clinic

A model integrative medicine clinic is built upon the following principles:

  • Canadian trained medical doctors who understand mainstream medicine, and incorporate integrative medicine
  • An understanding that good patient care is based on high quality time spent.
  • Value for individuality of care.
  • Recognition that working in teams is more powerful than working in isolation.
  • Knowing that health happens outside of office visits.
  • Embracing technology with medicine.
  • Uses evidence based medicine.

Clinics with similar principles exist in USA and in part, in Canada already. There is a large need for a clinic that offers all of these components in an organized structure.

Over the next year, I invite you to follow our journey as we create this model in the city of Vancouver, BC. We already have two clinics which offer wonderful care for patients. Our plan is to mold these clinics into one center, which will be a respected model for medical care.

Since we have a year to launch this clinic, we have some time to learn about the field. I will break up each month into a specific theme. Each theme will have weekly blog postings relating to it. If you are interested in health and want to understand how the body works, this blog is for you.

I will also be starting a podcast in some months. This will feature many Canadian figures in the health and wellness fields, and will have its eye on the Future of Medicine in Canada.

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Dr. Rishi Verma

Dr. Rishi Verma, MD is a Vancouver-based medical doctor and a leader in the field of integrative medicine. He is the owner and medical director of Balance Medical Center and Westcoast Women’s Clinic.

Dr. Verma travels and trains extensively to learn new and innovative approaches to improve healthcare delivery in Canada. His focus is on personalized medicine and the application of genomic and proteomic testing in the clinical setting. He believes these areas will have a great impact on the evolution of medicine.

Dr. Verma is Vice-President of the Canadian Integrative Medicine Association and is a fellowship candidate with the Institute for Functional Medicine.