New Osteopathic Doctor In Payson

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Payson's newest family practitioner, Doctor of Osteopathic medicine Matthew R. Harris, grew up in a medical household in which his father was a radiologist.

"Becoming a doctor was in my genes," Harris said. "It just seemed the natural thing to do."

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Matthew R. Harris, doctor of osteopathic medicine, is making certain everything is ready when he opens his family practice for patients Jan. 2, 2006.

Why see a newly American Board of Family Medicine certified doctor?

"I am extremely caring, straight forward and honest. If something is going on, I think the patient needs to know and has a right to know, and I'll tell them," Harris said.

"When you are going through medical school and trying to decide what kind of specialty you want, you can see different personalities going into different fields. Most of the people who were going to go into family practice were very similar to myself, pretty low key and ordinary. I think I have a very down-to-earth nonjudgmental personality. I'm very easy going. One of the reasons I decided to go into family practice is because I am kind of just an ordinary Joe."

An osteopath is a fully licensed physician who also may be a surgeon and, according to Harris, philosophy and training are the differences between a D.O. and a medical doctor. He cited Dr. E.T. Still, who thought MD's were becoming too specialized and not treating the whole person.

"The D.O. field really tries to see the body as a whole, recognizing all the human systems are interrelated, including the mind ...," Harris said.

"In practical terms, the difference between and M.D. and a D.O. is that D.O.s practice osteopathic manipulative therapy or OMT, a form of manual medicine that we have specialized training in throughout our medical school years."

Harris went to D.O. medical school at Ohio University in 2002 and did his M.D. residency from 2002 to 2005 at Kettering Medical Center and Good Samaritan Hospital, both in Dayton, Ohio.

His practice, Eagle Springs Family Medicine, will open its doors Jan. 2, 2006. Harris will see patients from "neonatology all the way to geriatrics." He does not do obstetrics, though.

There is a push in medicine these days to make your medical decisions based on the current research that has been done; or evidence-based medicine, Harris said, adding he is a big believer in it and uses it as much as he can.

For example, if somebody comes into the office and the doctor suspects they may have strep throat, Harris uses a scoring system in his head. If five out of five symptoms or characteristics can be identified, there is an extremely high probability of that person having strep throat, so he would not do a rapid strep test on the individual.

Regular office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Because many people complain that they can't get into see the doctor when they need to, Harris will offer "open access scheduling" between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. each day.

"So if somebody calls in and their kid is sick or they can't play football until their sports physical is done, then we are going to be seeing people those hours."

Electronic medical records will be used to streamline services to his patients.

"(I'll be able to track) how many of my diabetics didn't get their foot exam last month ... where in the traditional office, of all paper charts, I'd have to go through all 5,000 charts to figure it out."

Figuring out that he wanted to live in a smaller community was Harris' dream when he finished his residency.

He wanted a town with the climate of Colorado Springs, where he grew up, but smaller, where he and his wife Lynn could become part of the community and feel connected with their neighbors. Payson fit the bill.

Eagle Springs Family Medicine is located in Suite 4 at 903 E. Highway 260.

Patients can call (928) 468-7700 to set up appointments for the new year.

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