Clinicians spend substantial time monitoring patients for adverse outcomes. By assessing patients for high blood pressure, abnormal blood glucose levels, or cancer recurrence, clinicians may equate absence of disease with health. Public health officials, meanwhile, regularly track rates and leading causes of mortality, morbidity, or risk factors (eg, tobacco use, obesity, drug overdoses) that similarly apply a “deficits” framework to health. These approaches, while necessary and valuable, can fall short of capturing what is most important to people in their daily lives. A patient cares not only about physical health and test results “within normal limits” but also more broadly about being happy, having meaning and purpose, being “a good person,” and having fulfilling relationships.
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VanderWeele TJ, McNeely E, Koh HK. Reimagining Health—Flourishing. JAMA. Published online April 01, 2019321(17):1667–1668. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.3035
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