Changes in medicine just what the doctor ordered

By Don Kirkland

If you’re sick enough to go to the doctor, why should you wait until you’re on the examining table to start feeling better? That was just one of the questions Dr. Gregory Ellison pondered two months ago when the time came to move his practice from Mesa to the Kyrene Corridor.

The answer came, in part, with the use of a modified feng shui approach to the office décor, designed to create an inviting, calming and generally relaxing atmosphere for patients who, frankly, would rather be someplace else.

A 1979 graduate of the University of Nebraska School of Medicine, Ellison says the new look goes hand in hand with the new look of family practice.

“Family medicine has evolved,” says Ellison. “It used to be people with colds, runny noses, sprains; they don’t come in for that any more.”

Today, with insurers much more involved in the patient-care process, people tend to visit their doctor only when they can’t avoid it. That happens frequently, says Ellison, when they can’t work or conduct routine daily activities because of pain.

It is in that direction, therefore, that Ellison sees more of his care heading.

“A patient comes in with pain, and that can be a diagnostic challenge,” he says. Such challenges, he insists, are high on the list of reasons he continues to be energized by the practice of a profession that bears little similarity to what it was 25 years ago.

To be better able to tap into modern technologies for pain control, Ellison completed a comprehensive post-graduate program at the University of California at Los Angeles, where physicians learned not only the newest approaches to pain management but the oldest—like the practice of acupuncture that originated in China as early as the 15th Century B.C.

In addition to employing both new and old treatment modalities, Ellison utilizes the latest FDA-approved pharmaceuticals to help ease the discomfort of chronic pain.

But even the availability of many common pain-control narcotics has changed over the years, Ellison says, with such opiates as Vicodin, codeine, Percoset, OxyContin and others readily available via the Internet.

Thus, Ellison’s work with pain-relieving medications has taken on an even newer twist: helping people to escape the unintentional dependence that can result from unsupervised overuse.

Yet another dimension that has grown from what Ellison describes as an ever-changing doctor-patient relationship is his expanding work in the field of skin care, in which he became a Valley pioneer in the late 1990s.

Although privately operated skincare clinics have become as common as the corner Circle K, Ellison says many still like the idea of seeing their family doctor for care of sun damage, acne, moles, scar repair and treatment of skin cancer.

This, coupled with the number of patients he continues to see for routine family care, had led Ellison to what he considers an enviable position: “Less pressure from the daily grind of feeling the only way to get ahead is (to) see more patients.”

The new office is located at 2121 E. Baseline Road, Suite 104, Tempe. Phone: (480) 897-7070. Information on the full range of services also is available on the Web at www.drchoiceskincare.com