'Slow medicine' concept continues to simmer

The idea of spending more quiet time conversing with patients versus darting through checklists seems to be catching on. In fact, an entire movement known as "slow medicine" has gained physician devotees from various career stages, NPR reported.

"The concept is bubbling up in response to industrialized, hypertechnological and often unnecessary medical care that drives up costs and leaves both doctors and patients frazzled," John Henning Schumann, M.D., a primary care doctor in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he teaches at the University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine, wrote in the post.

Examples of various slow medicine "flavors"--or philosophies--include the following:

  • Be more mindful that treatments physicians may reflexively prescribe for certain conditions, such as high blood pressure, may not be ideal for everyone. Common blood pressure medications, for example, may cause older patients to faint, according to family doctor and author Dennis McCullough, M.D.
  • Emphasize "careful interviewing, examination, and observation of the patient over the growing array of medical tools and gadgets," recommend slow medicine advocates Pieter Cohen, M.D., and Michael Hochman, M.D., who have also launched a Facebook page to expand their ongoing public discussion about slow medicine.
  • Recognize "that many clinical problems do not yet have a technological 'magic bullet' but instead require lifestyle changes that have powerful effects over time." Henning Schumann added: "This is what we all struggle with most. As a doctor, teacher and patient myself, I know that changing my own habits and those of my patients are some of life's most challenging tasks."

To learn more:
- read the post