When we think of going to a medical practice, it’s rare to picture a strip mall, but Dr. Jim Smith near Cincinnati, Ohio has a whole new paradigm of what a doctor’s office can be. Nestled in a row along with Coffee Beans-n-Bags and Dave’s Quality Meats is Dr. Jim’s Options Supplements and More. On the marquee, as if they are this week’s special, Chelation Therapy and Colonics are advertised. Entering the store, for a store is what it is, the customer is greeted with a plethora of health products, from massage beds to vitamins, to skin care to shoes.
Looking closely, however, the unique nature of Dr. Jim’s Options arises. There is a line of lazyboy armchairs with IV poles along the back wall. Several exam rooms are included in the space, as well as a colonics room with a large machine. The check out clerk wears scrubs. Jim Smith has managed to merge the concept of going to the doctor with the image of patient-as-customer presented with options that he or she has the power to choose for themselves.
Kathy Smith, Dr. Jim Smith, Ronnie and
family friend and employee, Gordon.
Ronnie, one of Jim’s staff members (and also his wife Kathy’s son) explains that at Dr. Jim’s Options he tries to present an alternative attitude as well as alternative medical techniques. It is a welcoming place where patients are treated as friends. Ronnie tries to encourage laugher during Chelation sessions; the décor is a series of colorful posters with positive messages, and a big yellow smiley face even greets you at the door. Appointment cards for Dr. Jim are designed to look like movie tickets, as if you can expect a great show at this doctor’s.
Everywhere you look the theme is choices. A wooden rack holds an array of handouts with the title “Dr. Jim’s Shots for Health.” Each page gives the patient/customer detailed information about various IV supplements that are available there, including Alpha Lipoic Acid, Vitamin B-Complex, B-12, Methylcobalamin, and Glutathione. Dr. Smith has formulated his own series of vitamins with the label Dr. Jim’s Naturally Well. His Foundation Series, which he encourages all his patients to follow as a basic program consists of a Multivitamin, B-Complex 50, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and GoldenZymes Digestive Enzymes.
Colonics is a popular program at the office. Dr. Jim’s Options uses an “open system” for this treatment. Open system colonics take longer, has a much gentler flow, and is also done without a therapist in the room, which gives the patient more privacy. Like many colonics programs, Dr. Jim suggests that a patent do several colonics treatments in a row at first to loosen up years of blocked toxins in the bowel.
Though I came to meet with Jim to help plan our coming meeting in Northern Kentucky (March, 2007), I must admit I came away from his office wearing a brand new pair of snazzy Z-coil shoes. If you haven’t seen them yet, you’ll definitely have to keep a look out for these odd, yet wildly comfortable looking shoes on the cutting edge of health, if not fashion.
As we work for options in health care, it may be that we need to think of ourselves as consumers with choice rather than passive receivers of what the doctor orders. Dr. Jim Smith in West Chester, Ohio is leading the way into a new era of consumer (and patient) empowerment.