By Teresa Jolley

The integrated holistic healthcare challenge

As part of my MA in Online Journalism at Birmingham City University, I’m exploring the business support and communication services healthcare practitioners will need if we are to make integrated, holistic healthcare accessible and affordable for all.

This might sound like the type of elite healthcare only available to sports professionals.  Many will say it’s not possible to make this affordable and accessible to a wider market.

I believe we can and we should.  Fundamentally, it’s about putting the holistic health of each individual patient ahead of each practitioners focus on their field of expertise.

Why do this?

From my own experience, as a paying client to various healthcare professionals  (acupuncture, chiropractic, podiatry, sports massage) my natural instinct has been to want them to work together as a team with me.

Because I have been so determined to understand the cause for my chronic pain, I’ve spent a lot of time researching and understanding the problem.

I know more about the cause of my pain than many of the practitioners I see.  This is both a blessing and curse.  Experience has taught me that because of my knowledge a lot of practitioners don’t know how to deal with me.

With those that are willing, I’m trying to get them to work together, and this is proving far more of a struggle that I would like.

I believe that a practitioner’s greatest source of learning is the patients they treat.  If practitioners want the business security that will come from recommendations by their patients who have regained good health, then they need to explore the advantages of collaborating with their peers and colleagues with other specialisms / skills.

The challenge

To make patient-centred integrated healthcare affordable and accessible, practitioners will need access to support, guidance and inspiration in these two areas:

  • innovative and flexible business models / structures, and web-based support systems
  • creating and sharing their own and their patients experiences and insights, through the use of online content and social media

Through this enterprise research project, I’ll be exploring the validity of different services to support practitioners through these changes, such as:

  1. business support
    1. consultancy business advice service
    2. business mentoring and support
  2. communication and engagement services
    1. social media training
    2. video creation service (patient testimonals / educational)
    3. speaker / consultant
    4. event organisation (bringing integrated healthcare professionals and the public together to learn and share)

What I need to find out

1) Who’s leading the way in the industry?

Two healthcare practices I know of are challenging some of these barriers, and their results are impressive.

I want to explore and understand their work, the challenges they faced and the lessons they are learning in the process.

2) What constitutes integrated, holistic healthcare?

I need to explore what integrated holistic healthcare means. What basic key goals and products, services and treatments could be used as a model for an affordable integrated healthcare service?

From an orthodox medicine perspective, I’ll be researching the current NHS efforts to adopt an integrated approach to healthcare.

From an alternative healthcare perspective, I will use my existing contacts, attend events (such as the Mind Body Soul weekend in Cheltenham in October 2014) and use social media to find and interview practitioners from a range of fields to gain insights into what they do, and the challenges they perceive.

Already complete: Interview with Andrew Hill, owner of family run Sunshine Health shop in Stroud, Gloucestershire

3) What do we mean by affordable and accessible?

How can we make it easy to access healthcare treatments? Can we build in flexibility to access from more than one place, such as individual healthcare clinics, gyms, surgeries etc?  Should there by tie-ups with fitness groups or organisations?  For this I’ll be researching and interviewing existing practitioners in a range of different business model settings, to understand the challenges in making access to healthcare easier and more affordable:

4) Making use of technology to engage, learn and share

Finally,  I want to explore the use of feedback and visualisation tools as a key learning and education tool for patients and practitioners.  Services such as Biofeedback, Live blood analysis, aura interpretations and gaitscan / motion capture technology for biomechanics are now more affordable than ever, and I want to explore the commercial viability of including them as part of an affordable integrated healthcare package.

Summary

Fundamentally, I believe both patients and practitioners want to see this kind of change, but are hampered by business, professional, and communication obstacles.

I want to explore the challenges and opportunities in getting healthcare practitioners working together collaboratively, sharing their skills and expertise, and forming and re-forming business alliances with other practitioners, so that they are able to place their patients holistic health and goals at the centre of their work.

If you’re interested in taking part in this research, happening in November and December 2014, do get in touch.

Enterprising ideas to visualise health

You know that feeling when several disparate experiences in your life experience suddenly join together and sing ‘a-ha’! to you in a moment of clarity?  Well, I had one of those moments this weekend – I now realise my obsession with data visualisation is far more serious and pervasive (but potentially helpful) than I previously thought!

I’ve often thought how great it would be to ‘see’ inside our body.  Yes there is expensive scanning kit that’s used when people are really sick, but what about the rest of us?  Why do we have to be sick before we get to learn about our health?

I’ve thought my passion for visualising data started with my work in local highways, but my first trip to a Mind Body Soul fair this weekend in Cheltenham reminded me that it started long before that – with TOG Gaitscan analysis and Root2Being.

hyperpronation adversely impacts foot function which can be seen easily using software such as TOG gaitscanBack in 2002 I was so excited about TOG Gaitscan because it enabled practitioners to see how the foot functions.   With this visual aid. its possible to explain much more easily how foot function impacts the rest of our biomechanics, and how foot function adapts to changes in orthotic prescriptions.

This Mind Body Soul fair made me realise how far technology has come. I was fascinated to see how practitioners are now using biofeedback tools to undertake live blood analysis, and biofeedback assessments to help patients understand their own health and then feel empowered to make positive changes.

Another use for biofeedback technology is to show us our auras, and I just couldn’t resist the chance to do this, as I’ve wondered for some time what Teresa's aura 19 October 2014mine looks like. Being able to see it and have it’s meaning interpreted helped me validate what I already felt and sensed about my current progress and stage in life. Like everyone, my aura is always there, but I never see it.  Just the act of seeing it helped me feel more confident and that I could place more trust in myself and my own intuition.

Why then, I reason to myself,  do we not make more use of the technology now available at an affordable price to help us learn about and monitor our health before we get sick?

In need of a creative idea to explore as an business enterprise for my MA in Online Journalism at Birmingham City University, perhaps its time I took more notice of my passion (obsession?!) with data visualisation in the context of holistic healthcare.

As part of this module in creative enterprise, I’ll have produced a 2 minute video pitch and a blog post developing this idea by 10th November.  By mid-January 2015, I’ll have explored and researched the idea to find out whether or not it can form the basis of a viable enterprise opportunity.

First though, we needed to define what creative enterprise means to each of us…

Have you had experience of biofeedback technology to understand your health and wellbeing?  Are you a practitioner offering services like this?

Practitioners use TOG Gaitscan to assess foot function

If not properly controlled flat feet, or hyperpronation can cause a wide variety of chronic health problems.  Finding help to identify and resolve this problem is difficult, especially as it has only recently been linked to a genetic abnormality in the position of two bones in the foot.

As we wake up to the fact that the shape of our feet affects the way we walk, its possible to control improve our health by wearing prescription orthotics (inserts worn in our shoes to correct foot function).

Orthotics in various guises have been around for many years and receive mixed reviews.  Orthotics themselves aren’t the problem, but getting a pair in the right prescription for you most definitely will be a challenge.   A small change can have a big effect, so it’s crucial to get it right.

With their GaitScan system, The Orthotic Group (TOG) are helping healthcare practitioners improve the accuracy of orthotic prescription. The high quality graphics represent the actual patterns of pressure under the feet when standing and walking across the pressure sensitive pad.  In combination with the practitioners own skills and knowledge of assessing foot shapes this is a valuable tool that can help increase the accuracy of prescription orthotics.

Below are the healthcare practices I know of that use the TOG GaitScan system.

UK

ITRM Chiropractic, Doncaster

Total Feet, Nottingham

Central Chiropractic Clinic, Oxford

Bedford Chiropractic Clinic, Bedford

Footmedic Podiatry, Birmingham

Soonius Chiropractic, Coventry and  Kenilworth

Lifestyle Chiropractic, Truro, Cornwall

Sue Ferguson Podiatry, Kent

Surrey Footcare, Croydon

Body4Life Healthcare, London

Physio4Life, Putney

 

Western Australia

SW Foot and Ankle Centre


New Zealand

Pure Healthcare

The Gait Doctor


America

Mountain View Chiropractic and Wellness Centre

My double life: Root2Being and Teresa Jolley are one

Teresa Jolley, founder of Root2Being
Teresa Jolley, founder of Root2Being

I’ve a confession to make, I hope you don’t mind? I have been leading a double life; most of my friends, family and those who know me professionally know nothing about what really makes me, me.  I think it’s time I set the record straight.  I am Teresa Jolley and I am the founder of Root2Being.  There, that wasn’t so bad was it?  So, what’s all this Root2Being stuff about?

Root2Being was launched 9 years ago in April 2005,  following 4 years research to find the cause for my otherwise baffling and severe chronic pain and illness.  It turns out there is a genetic cause behind flat feet, and by using orthotics to control how our feet work when we take each step, the pain goes away.

Although this genetic problem with the shape of my feet is very common, it was only discovered recently and few people are familiar with
Hyperpronation caused by a natural varus deformity forces the foot to roll inward and downwardit.  I created Root2Being to raise awareness of this problem and help others understand it so they would also have the chance to free themselves from chronic pain and illness as I had been fortunate enough to do.  

Root2Being has been successful despite what might appear to be my best efforts to stop it being so.   It went live in 2005 and with no changes to the website, content, or metadata, and no advertising or marketing from me until now, it is the global resource on foot shape and function and its links to chronic pain and injury.  It has been referenced in training materials and articles, and viewed from nearly every country in the world.  With over 100,000 views since 2011, over half of these are in America.

Joining me back together again….

hyperpronation caused by a varus deformity in the foot destabilises the entire musculoskeletal structureWhy then, have I so far chosen to keep Root2Being  separate from the rest of my life?  I think perhaps the reason is inherent in the very problem I have.  When so few people understand the impact this problem has on your life (very often you don’t either), you keep it quiet, and try to sort it out by yourself.  You learn not to trust people as you get let down so often, most significantly by healthcare and medical  professionals.  Sound familiar?  I thought so!

Since 2002,  while doing my best in my career, the other half of me has been living a kind of reversed life, where my body has been untwisting and releasing the damage that had been developing before I intervened with the orthotics.  This ‘backwards’ journey has been a privilege, one where I’ve experienced an unbelievable range of changes and improvements to my health.  This proves to me the huge impact such a small physical problem in the foot can have on the entire person, not just physically, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

When we play the tape forwards, we can see how, left undiagnosed and controlled, this problem can wreak havoc on a persons life in so many ways, with symptoms and problems arising gradually over time that might otherwise seem completely unrelated.   This is the hallmark of many chronic pain cases that the medical profession are at a loss to understand.  Could this recently discovered genetic cause for foot shape abnormalities be the key?

I’ve recently found and reunited with my blood family, and learning about their lives and the way this similar genetic problem has impacted them (even though they didn’t realise it) shows a hauntingly familiar pattern.

Ready for the future

I’ve learnt a lot since 2005 and now seems a good time to give Root2Being a facelift and bring this learning together for the benefit of others.  As well as the need to understand foot shape and function, better knowledge about food and nutrition, genealogy and even astrology can all help in the healing process.

Root2Being is mobile and social friendly, so please join in on TwitterFacebook and Tableau Public  (yes I’ve applied my data visualisation passion to Root2Being too!)  It is a bit scary baring your hidden self for everyone else to see, but I’ll do it for you, to help you and those you love understand and free yourself from otherwise baffling chronic pain.  Please treat me, and them, with care.