• Shenary J. Cotter, MD

Why a Physician?

Gainesville Direct Primary Care Physicians currently offers patients a choice between Althea Tyndall-Smith, MD, and Shenary Cotter, MD. Both physicians graduated from accredited schools of medicine, and completed three year residencies in Family Medicine. In addition to completing residency, multiple arduous and comprehensive tests were successfully completed in order to get into medical school, pass from the second year to the third year of medical school, pass each clinical rotation during medical school, after the first year of residency, and after the 3rd year of residency. Additionally, every 3 years, a Board Certified Family Medicine Physician must complete more testing, and once every 10 years every physician must RE-TEST .....pass a comprehensive Family Medicine Board Certification Examination that takes a full day to complete, and includes information from the entire scope of the field of Family Medicine.

Frequent questions that I get when patients are looking for a potential physician is "do you do more than just prescribe medications/push pills? Do you look at the whole individual and at the causes of problems? Do you have a holistic approach to taking care of patients?"

These questions make me sad. I have no idea where the idea took hold that Family Medicine physicians DON'T look at the "whole" patient when evaluating for health or causes of illness. When did I become a "pill pusher" in the minds of the general public?

One of the sources, I believe, has come from what we call "industry healthcare." Industry healthcare is the medical setting that has physicians seeing 25 - 30 patients a day, barely spending 15 minutes per patient, constantly running late, and being unavailable to see patients when they need to be seen. This unnecessarily pushes patients into urgent care or emergency department settings when these should have been handled in the office of their very own physician.

Physicians need to apologize for participating in this. Most all of us didn't mean to cooperate in this for greed. We thought we were trying to help more people. I apologize.

Dr. Tyndall-Smith and I don't participate in that any more.

Other reasons patients sense physicians are "pill and problem based" include receiving that message, incorrectly, from some others who wish to practice in the heatlhcare setting but in a field other than medicine: this can include nursing, chiropractic, chinese medicine, accupuncture, and naturopathy and homeopathy. In an effort to explain why a patient should NOT choose a physician and choose them instead, some members of these fields will focus on what they believe physicians aren't. The idea that anyone has to denigrate physician care in order to promote their own care is unfortunate: each of these areas has definite unique positive things to bring to patient care without insulting or belittle medical doctors and our sacrificial and extensive education and training, the high standards we are held to, the legal standard we answer to, and our dedication to helping patients.

Also problematic for the patient is understanding what type of "doctor" they are seeing - because it has become more commonplace for healthcare practitioners from fields other than medicine to refer to themselves as physicians and "doctors" without ensuring that patients understand exactly what type of doctor they are. There is a difference between having earned a doctorate degree, and being a "doctor" in a healthcare setting.

At Gainesville Direct Primary Care Physicians, we are very transparent about who we are and what our qualifications are. We clearly and accurately represent ourselves, our education, our Board certification, and our titles. Our patients will only receive care from a physician. We have the time in our direct primary care setting to spend time with patients to take care of them in a truly holistic fashion, combining the best of science has to offer with our ability to connect with and relate to our patients.

As physicians, we are held to a standard of providing evidence-based care. This means that we cannot simply claim that what we are doing works by giving anecdotal (story-like) evidence, or personal opinion, or quoting "evidence" from a single study that may or may not actually have studied what it claims to have studied. We have to prove that what we are doing works before we actually do it, with high quality studies that have been corroborated with additional studies and data, and agreed upon by a consensus.

If you are asking yourself, "Why a physician?" Come visit us for a free visit. You'll see EXACTLY why a physician.

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