While it may not be the first condition that comes to mind when mentioning a chronic condition, headache-related issues are to blame main reasons why patients visit the Department of Neurology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. To expand medical provider education about this widespread disease, UW Health has partnered with the University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford to create friendship program for headache disorders.
This collaboration may come as a surprise because headaches are generally not known to be life-threatening. But, surprisingly migraines are the second leading cause disability, yet millions of Americans suffer from headache disorders without adequate treatment.
In fact, the American Headache Society claims that less than a few hours of a physician’s four years of medical education are spent on headache disorders. Organizations worry that other specialists, such as OB-GYNs and primary care physicians, may end up treating patients with headaches despite a lack of knowledge to do so due to a lack of training.
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It is clear that the demand for doctors with a headache education far exceeds the supply. If patients continue to visit providers without proper knowledge of headache disorders, they will continue to experience frustration and possible cost inefficiencies.
Instead, study in Korea It has been shown that patients visiting spine specialists have higher daily expenses than those charged by nonspecialists, but their hospitalization and hospitalization costs are also significantly lower. Specialization in certain diseases not only leads to improved patient outcomes and clinical efficiency, but can also reduce the volume burden of patients in other specialties that are not suitable for treating headache.
The drawbacks of expensive medical specialties are still there. For example, a significant percentage of individual experiences multimorbidity or some chronic disease. While medical specialization may be a very efficient method of patient care, excessive specialization can lead to a decline in holistic patient care.
However, the development of chronic diseases can be significantly affected by the presence of other diseases. Different treatments, medications, and symptoms can also have a lasting impact on the outcome of other diseases. But the broad medical specialties promote an incomplete approach to patient care.
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Considering the economic implications, special scholarships offer very limited seats. Even in Madison’s new program, the headache fellowship created by UW Health only offers one seat. Evidently, this will lead to a concentration of specialists in certain areas, causing accessibility problems, especially in rural areas. In fact, only 3.1% neurologists in US practice in rural areas. As a consequence, the availability of neurologists who specialize in headache treatment will decrease.
While specialization is important and can benefit patient care efficiency to some extent, it is important that we continue to develop tools to enhance medical education among all doctor. A possible solution is to increase the time spent in medical school studying the most common ailments faced by the American population, including headaches.
Communication between specialists and primary care providers treating the same patient should also be promoted to ensure a holistic view of the patient. This requires research and policy implementation among medical education institutions and healthcare facilities.
Aanakah Parikh ([email protected]) is a freshman studying molecular and cell biology.