To Combat Rising Polypharmacy Rates, Health Atlast Offers New Type of Healthcare Practice

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As polypharmacy (the use of multiple or unnecessary drugs to treat a single medical condition(1)) rates continue to rise, patients bear the brunt of a healthcare industry that puts its own needs first. Physicians must work with other healthcare professionals to ensure patient care is as effective as possible.

Health Atlast CEO, Stephanie Higashi, discusses polypharmacy rates and the importance of catering a medical plan around a patients core needs.

At the heart of the issue are doctors who, instead of referring patients to other appropriate healthcare providers (such as chiropractors, acupuncturists, physio-therapists, etc.), simply write multiple prescriptions to try to manage a patient’s symptoms.

As polypharmacy (the use of multiple or unnecessary drugs to treat a single medical condition(1)) rates continue to rise, patients bear the brunt of a healthcare industry that puts its own needs first. Physicians must work with other healthcare professionals to ensure patient care is as effective as possible.

Despite growing national attention on over-prescription of opioids and other medications, rates of polypharmacy in elderly patients have more than doubled since 2004.(2) In 2013, there were over 3.68 million patient visits to healthcare providers that involved polypharmacy.(2) Health Atlast, a new type of integrated healthcare practice franchise, offers a different solution to this unethical and widespread medical practice.

From 2004 to 2013, 68.1% of women aged 65 or older received prescriptions for drugs that were medically unnecessary or that were similar to a medication already being taken.(2) Disturbingly, 45.9% of elderly patients were prescribed multiple medications that act on the central nervous system, despite not having a diagnosis of any pain conditions, mental health conditions, or insomnia.(2)

In addition to the fact that patients are simply consuming unnecessary medications, polypharmacy can result in dangerous drug interactions that lead to deadly consequences, such as serious falls. Mixing medications contributes to confusion and dizziness in seniors,(3) and nationwide, elderly people are treated for falls in emergency departments every 11 seconds.(4) Every 19 minutes, a fall resulting in an elderly person’s death occurs.(4)

“At the heart of the issue are doctors who, instead of referring patients to other appropriate healthcare providers (such as chiropractors, acupuncturists, physio-therapists, etc.), simply write multiple prescriptions to try to manage a patient’s symptoms,” said Stephanie Higashi, D.C. CEO of Health Atlast. “Often, these doctors don’t get to the cause of the patient’s problem, nor do they provide the patient with all the information needed to make an informed decision about their care.”

With the changing healthcare landscape in America, lack of consistent, predictable revenue from patients has led physicians into to being short-sighted in their patient treatment. Over-regulation and lowered insurance payments have pushed physicians to limit coordination of care with other physicians in an effort to retain business and increase smaller and smaller profit margins. Physicians have also been known to withhold referrals to other healthcare providers that could help their patients for fear of losing revenue or their services being labeled as unwarranted or unnecessary to effective patient care.(8)

But patients with a variety of medical issues have already benefited from alternative healthcare therapies, including chiropractic care, acupuncture and massage therapy.(5,6,7) Higashi says Health Atlast is a new way for physicians to practice healthcare in the ideal model they intended and truly abide by their Hippocratic oath.

“Doctors do care about their patients—the healthcare model today has severely crippled physicians’ ability to spend the needed time with each of their patients to give them all the information they need about their condition, and allow patients to have some self-determinism in the way they’re treated,” says Higashi. “Instead of fearing revenue loss, physicians can now team up with other healthcare providers to ensure that the best possible treatment decisions are made and that each patient receives maximum benefit.”

Franchised businesses statistically do better than individual businesses due to the support and quality of delivery of service. Health Atlast Franchise model is integrating the greatest solutions for health in one place for patients. Just medicine, just exercise, just dieting, just massage or just chiropractic is not a sufficient approach to treat people anymore.

About Health Atlast:
Health Atlast was founded to bring medical, chiropractic, acupuncture and massage care models together into one convenient, all-encompassing healthcare practice. Instead of referring patients to other healthcare providers—Health Atlast brings professionals from multiple disciplines together under one roof to provide comprehensive, focused care to each patient.
At each Health Atlast franchise location, patients have access to knowledgeable, experienced health care providers, including medical doctors, doctors of chiropractic, and physiotherapists. Once a firm medical diagnosis is made, each patient is treated with the goal of successful rehabilitation and healing while avoiding unnecessary medications or surgeries as much as possible. Successful doctors of chiropractic, medical doctors, doctors of Osteopathic medicine, wellness professionals, philanthropic investors looking to expand and improve the health of others are candidates for being a great Health Atlast franchise owner. To learn more about Health Atlast, please visit http://www.healthatlastnow.com.

About Stephanie Higashi:
As a pre-med student in 1997, Stephanie Higashi was dismayed to find a national model of healthcare focused on prescribing medications and performing invasive surgeries without first exploring alternative therapies. She began a search to find different solutions for medical problems, incorporating alternative methods of healthcare into one unique, all-encompassing practice model. Higashi’s uncommon approach to patient care has helped to bring medical professionals from diverse disciplines together with one common goal—to avoid the use of unnecessary drugs and surgery treatments as much as possible, while effectively addressing the complex and varied medical needs of each patient. The end result are healthier patients and happier doctors.

1.    Maher, Robert L., Joseph T. Hanlon and Emily R. Hajjar. “Clinical Consequences of Polypharmacy in Elderly.” Expert Opinion on Drug Safety. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Jan. 2014. Web. 22 Mar. 2017.

2.    MS, Donovan T. Maust MD. “Central Nervous System Polypharmacy Among Outpatient Older Adults.” JAMA Internal Medicine. N.p., 13 Feb. 2017. Web. 22 Mar. 2017.

3.    “New Study Says Doctors Over-Prescribing Dangerous Drugs to Seniors.” The Legal Examiner. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2017.

4.    Fender, Jackie. “Forms to Help Reduce Elders from Falling.” Tacoma Weekly. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2017.

5.    Hall, Helen, Holger Cramer, Tobias Sundberg, Lesley Ward, Jon Adams, Craig Moore, David Sibbritt, and Romy Lauche. “The Effectiveness of Complementary Manual Therapies for Pregnancy-related Back and Pelvic Pain: A Systematic Review with Meta-analysis.” Medicine. Wolters Kluwer Health, Sept. 2016. Web. 22 Mar. 2017.

6.    Xin, Zhang, Liu Xue-Ting, and Kang De-Ying. “GRADE in Systematic Reviews of Acupuncture for Stroke Rehabilitation: Recommendations Based on High-Quality Evidence.” Scientific Reports. Nature Publishing Group, 2015. Web. 22 Mar. 2017.

7.    “Massage Therapy Has Short-term Benefits for People with Common Musculoskeletal Disorders Compared to No Treatment: A Systematic Review.” Journey of Physiotherapy. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2017.

8.    “What’s Behind That Medical Referral?” U.S. News and World Report. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.

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Karla Jo Helms
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