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Running is Good for Mental Health -- and a Reason to do Telemedicine

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Wed, Dec 07, 2016 @ 10:46 AM

runningpic.jpgThe most common argument against telemedicine-based healthcare collaboration is that it's simply not worth the time.

With so many pressures on a provider's time, it's easy to say "I would do it, but all the must-haves get in the way."

But a recent study is one more challenge to this notion -- a piece reviewing recent studies on running and its impact on mental health.Ultimately, providers do telemedicine-based medical collaboration because they know that treating a patient is about treating the whole person -- not just conducting some kind of medical transaction. Treating a patient as a team isn't a "nice to have" -- it is simply more effective than treating a patient as an individual provider, in a silo so t speak.

Collaboration is about saying, "I know a lot about this patient, but I wonder if my colleague (with his different expertise) has a different viewpoint" and "My job is to treat this patient to the best of my ability, given all the people and resources available to me."  This also implies not tripping up the other providers' plans and medications, including those of the school system and social workers in some cases.

This is something we all know, but it is so easy to forget. A recent New York Times article reminded me of the value of this whole-patient approach to health. The article looks at the significant effects of running and its impact on depression. For instance, men and women with the lowest physical fitness are 75% more likely to have a diagnosis of depression. Running seems to be able to alleviate symptoms of depression in the same ways (although not always to the same degree) as medication and therapy do. 

Sure, you say, exercise is the miracle drug. But what does this have to do with healthcare collaboration?

The proven impact of running on mental health is proof that we have to treat the whole patient in order to treat the patient well. It's a great example that patients are more than just their condition, and even things that seem unrelated -- like running and mental health -- may well impact each other. When we are "siloed" as providers, when we don't collaborate, we are less likely to help patients in a holistic way. Just treating the immediate condition is not always treating the patient well.

As an individual provider, we often don't have all the information we need to treat the whole patient. The cardiologist might not know that the patient's depression is contributing to noncompliance in taking his or her medicatiion. And the physical therapist might be able to use iClickCare to mention that the patient used to be a runner, and exericise could be a great tool for helping with heart health, ease their depression, and improve compliance. That's why it's so crucial to treat the patient as a team -- the team enables us to treat the whole patient.

Using telemedicine for medical collaboration doesn't have to be time-consuming. But it can be life changing for those you treat. And it can make your practice a lot more satisfying. 


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Tags: telemedicine, medical collaboration, healthcare collaboration software

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