The Knowledge GAP in medicine (and how you can fill it)
Posted by Andrea Nakayama
We all know the saying “Knowledge is Power.”
And when it comes to a patient’s health and healing journey, the power of knowledge is profound. But what is knowledge in patient care?
And how can you help to cultivate both patient power and empowerment?
First let’s identify what knowledge is for a patient. To do so, I’ll turn to one of my favorite books by the journalist Maya Dusenbury.
In her pivotal book, Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick, Dusenbury speaks to a number of GAPS in our medical system—GAPS that leave women in the predicaments stated in the subtitle of her book…
Dismissed, Misdiagnosed and Sick
One of the primary GAPS Dusenbury identified is what she calls the Knowledge GAP.
It’s a GAP that can and should be addressed, both in our understanding, and in our care, to help avoid the frustrating situations that millions of patients face today. And it’s a GAP that I know Functional Nutrition Counselors and properly trained clinicians dedicated to the science and art of the Functional Nutrition practice can fill!
This is why I do what I do—training thousands of practitioners each year to step in where nobody else has, and do the work to upgrade patient knowledge. After all, knowledge is power.
Knowledge vs. Information
We live in the Information Age. We carry powerful computers in our pockets that can answer any question we have.
Patients now search for answers to even their most intimate and embarrassing questions, because they can do so in private. (Out of curiosity, I just searched for “best remedies for constipation” and Google retrieved over 38,100,000 results in 0.94 seconds.)
We are not starved for information.
In fact, patients and practitioners alike can easily fall into what I’ve deemed the Information Trap—spending hours searching for data on a condition in theory without understanding how that information applies to the individual’s unique needs.
So if information is a trap, what is knowledge?
If knowledge is power, then knowledge, as it pertains to the empowerment of the patient, is 3-fold:
- Knowledge about what’s going on in their bodies. Every patient deserves to understand what their signs, symptoms, and diagnosis mean for them. (Why does gluten affect my digestion but not my sister’s?)
- Knowledge about what everyday care might look like to mediate symptoms. (If my thyroid gland is underactive, what daily actions can I take to support its function?)
- Knowledge about how to advocate for themselves in a system that doesn’t necessarily understand all their needs. Patients often have to go to bat for themselves in the current system, but no one is teaching them how to do so.
This knowledge is precisely what properly trained Functional Nutrition Counselors can provide for their clients and patients. We fill this GAP (and many others!) with education, empathy, and empowerment.
It’s my mission to change the way we do healthcare by training an army of forward-thinking coaches and practitioners like you in the science and art of the Functional Nutrition practice.
Your first step to join the Resolution is easy. Download my ebook—Roadmap to Resolution: Your Blueprint for Thriving in Practice by Addressing the Root Causes of Chronic Illness—and see just how important you are in this new healthcare paradigm.
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