Traditional medicine has placed the majority of focus on acute care, chronic care and urgent care, with prevention or wellness having a secondary focus. Traditional medicine seeks to identify and treat health problems when they emerge or “catch” health issues during preventive visits. 

Once health care problems emerge, traditional medicine treats these conditions on an acute or urgent care basis. A patient, for example, could be seen by their primary care physician for minor chest discomfort. A traditional physician would examine the patient, order labs and possibly refer the patient to cardiology for a more extensive work up. Care is pursued until the health problem is addressed. The patient with minor chest discomfort may have a respiratory infection that is resolved through antibiotics.

Some acute conditions may become chronic health conditions, meaning that traditional medicine believes that these conditions can be managed but are unlikely to be resolved. Instead of being attributed to a respiratory infection, the minor chest discomfort might be linked to elevated cholesterol and the beginning of coronary artery disease. Traditional medicine would prescribe medicine to address this condition, follow the the patient’s status and keep the patient connected to specialist to manage the condition.

Other health issues are of such significance and importance that they have to be addressed on an urgent basis. If the patient with coronary artery disease has a heart attack, traditional medicine would seek immediate intervention to stabilize the patient’s condition, (which is the purpose of emergency rooms). Once the patient is stable, traditional medicine often performs procedures to further address the problem. A stent implant or bypass surgery could be used to help a patient following a heart attack.