Scott Hardin, MD
In medical school, I was struck by the fact that my veterinarian could tell me ahead of time how much every service he offered would cost – but no one in medicine could do the same. As a practicing physician I came to see how the 3rd party payer system (insurance, Medicare) was destroying quality care, undermining the doctor-patient relationship, increasing costs, robbing doctors of time to see and get to know their patients, dictating to doctors what tests or treatments were allowed or required, robbing doctors of job satisfaction and robbing patients of the ability to choose care based on the best value and quality. I believe patients should be free and empowered to choose the best care at the best price, and that’s exactly what I strive to provide, the best quality for the best value.
In my practice of anesthesiology for the last decade, I saw firsthand every day how the American lifestyle was destroying health, how chronic metabolic disease was robbing people of lifespan and health span. I saw how a great many surgeries patients underwent were entirely preventable by better lifestyle choices. I saw how a lifetime of poor lifestyle choices made patients sick, and how it made taking care of them in the operating room considerably more difficult and challenging. I realized that I, like virtually all of my physician colleagues, had gotten almost no training at all in lifestyle medicine in medical school, and how I was making the same poor choices my patients were making. I was badly sleep deprived, highly stressed, so busy I became disconnected from family, friends, and community, I had worsening acid reflux disease, obstructive sleep apnea, elevated blood pressure, and as I accumulated extra pounds year after year, I went from overweight to obese myself.
I knew I had to address my lifestyle before I found myself with the same chronic diseases I was treating. But I didn’t really know how – I had heard and tried the same incorrect old idea of eat less and move more, but as I tried it, I got fatter and more burned out. I wanted to live a long, healthy and active life that allows me to actively enjoy things with my children, for decades to come. A physician friend introduced me to lifestyle medicine, and I saw that it provided a scientific evidence based approach to addressing the epidemic of the health consequences of the typical American lifestyle. I decided that not only did I need this for myself and my family, but that with a majority of Americans being overweight and having at least early markers of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic conditions, that the majority of the population needed it as well. I went to medical school wanting to make a difference in the lives of my patients, and lifestyle medicine provides me with the opportunity to truly make a difference, preventing and reversing disease, extending health and wellbeing.