Finding New Vistas of Healthcare -- By Dr. Neela Sandal

As I stood on a friend's deck looking west, I saw a big view of the land and the sky, which made me realize how much such views are good for our health. Appreciating such vistas helps us relax: our cortisol levels go down, insulin sensitivity increases, and testosterone goes up.

Taking a big view also is good for thinking about the future of our healthcare system. We can get beyond societal compulsions and habitual patterns by cultivating greater spaciousness that enables us to see vaster possibilities.

Another way to think about our healthcare system is by considering different levels of care, from the least invasive to the most acute. Going to the ER in a diabetic coma is the least efficient and most damaging level of care, giving the patient fewer options and potential permanent damage while also incurring the highest cost and the most intervention needed. On the other hand, going to your doctor to have your blood sugar levels checked, and then, as needed, taking medication and making positive lifestyle changes, such as working with a personal trainer and nutritionist, is relatively inexpensive and highly efficient. This path also is the least burdensome on the healthcare system and on the individual patient.

At Atma, we believe in treating the root causes of disease as well as practicing preventive healthcare whenever possible rather than waiting to treat people in acute crises. We embrace engaging with small issues before they become big ones as well as addressing more difficult illnesses or conditions from a big-view perspective. We also work in partnership with our patients truly letting them have a choice in their care. Looking at what's in front of us right now is essential, and it's also important to consider the best possibilities by looking wide to get the fullest picture.

The big view also means cultivating our awareness of our health. By paying attention to what hurts or needs attention, we can get beyond judgment and discover how to take care of potential issues in real time. That can help us