As health professionals who take the time & have the incredible attention to detail to capture the ‘whole health story’ of each patient, we can end up with vast amounts of information for every client: detailed medical histories, broad systems-reviews, condition specific validated screening surveys, in-house physical assessment data, not to mention a pile of past pathology results…and that’s before we start our own investigative path! Does it sometimes feel like TMI? I see many really knowledgeable practitioners become overwhelmed right there They know they needed to know it all but now they’re struggling to hear the critical storyline above the ‘noise’, see the wood for the trees or [insert another metaphor that works better for you] 😉 What tends to happen next, though we might not realise it at the time, is we abandon systems-based thinking, because it is so challenging, and start treating superficially or symptomatically: ok well for now, I’ll just give them something for their hayfever and something else for these loose stools and then a good sleep mix for that insomnia and maybe with a bit of time I can work out the real underpinning cause and start addressing that. Just like we never wanted or intended to do!
Conventional medicine is intellectually complex but it is a lot simpler in many regards than holistic medicine.
Disease = medication. Another disease = another medication.
Versus the dogged determination of the systems-based practitioner – constantly asking ourselves: Why this person? Why now? What’s underneath it all? How do these elements connect?
Two key objectives for integrative health practitioners are 1) getting to the root cause and 2) least medicine is best medicine…these are inextricably linked, but with such voluminous information & a lot of ‘noise’ that can be very distracting, how do we stay on track with the work-up of each patient, to remain true to these principles and genuinely integrated? What tools and resources were you trained in to make clarity out of chaos? To sift the wheat from the chaff or [insert another metaphor that works better for you] 😉 And do these actually work for you in your real clinic with your (very) real patients? This is, after all, no longer about creating formulation diagrams or schematics because that’s the what worked for your clinical supervisor. This is about whether your systems for case analysis meet 3 critical criterion:
- they save you time – too many practitioners’ attempts at case analysis consist of writing out the entire case again….just more neatly…with dot points…and maybe 5 less words
- they reveal the connectedness of the seemingly separate elements & force your knowledge forward by asking you, ‘but how?’
- they write the patient prescription for you – not just the initial one, but typically, those for the next 12mo of this patient’s care
I do a lot of mentoring and it’s wonderful to help so many practitioners by sharing my integrated work up of their patient cases…but I employ just 2 secret weapons that are actually not so secret: timelines and MindMaps. Without them, I would be lost too. I’ve been thinking for a long time about how best to share these 2 not-secret-at -all-weapons…and finally my lovely shiny new grad mentees inspired me to come up with this….and boy didn’t it get us all thinking, talking, thinking some more….and most importantly…converting client chaos to clarity – here’s what others had to say:
“I really love the cases and listening and seeing how you interpret complicated presentations and methodically break them down in a way that digs down to the core/genesis of the issues. It helps me to provide more laser focus to my own complicated cases with your guidance.. Love the mind maps!”
“I loved this session and think its very relevant. I have used these tools before, but never mastered them or used them regularly. I have mostly used mind maps for study, so I love this application and with practice, think I will get used to using them for every case.”
“Most difficult is challenging existing patterns of thinking around mindmaps and training my brain to approach it more effectively (plus getting faster). This will come with practice. Most satisfying is seeing how useful they can be when done well at the start in terms of time saving in the overall case (across years) and getting to the core (s) of the case. Great session!”
As integrative health practitioners, we pride ourselves on taking in the ‘whole health story’ as a means to accurately identifying all the contributors & connections to each patient’s presenting unwellness. In the process, we gather a wealth of information from each client – pathology, medical history, screening tests, diet diaries etc. that borders on information overload and often creates so much ‘noise’, we struggle to ‘hear’ what’s most important. The management of complex patient information and the application of a truly integrated approach, requires due diligence and the right tools. This recording and associated resources will teach you to effectively perform a case work-up that does justice to the holistic framework and model & at the end of the first part, there is a practice run for you to create a MindMap and Timeline. Then part 2 takes you step by step through the same example, showing you how to build a really effective MindMap and then how to read it to show you the path of management! PDF sample case notes, MindMap and a Timeline template are included.