Stemming the flood of chronic disease

The comparison of the conventional approach to healthcare as being like trying to stem a waterfall, where patients just keep falling over the edge into chronic disease, was one that resonated throughout Blackmores Institute 2015 symposium held in Melbourne this week. This analogy was made by 2015 keynote speaker, Dr Katherine Gergen Barnett, from the Boston Medical Center in Massachusetts, who underlined the global paradigm shift of the decline in infectious disease being replaced by the rapid incline of chronic disease. Dr Barnett says it is imperative we rethink our approach and treat patients “upstream” before they become chronically ill rather than attempting to ‘bandaid’ them “downstream” where their illness is merely being managed, resulting in many more people with chronic illness.

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