Integrated healthcare, integrative practitioner, integral health… all buzzwords of complementary and alternative medicine. But what do these words really mean and what are the implications of these words to the development of integration in our healthcare system?
Medicine has long decried acupuncture, homeopathy, and the like as dangerous nonsense that preys on the gullible. Again and again, carefully controlled studies have shown alternative medicine to work no better than a placebo. But now many doctors admit that alternative medicine often seems to do a better job of making patients well, and at a much lower cost, than mainstream care—and they’re trying to learn from it.
Researchers are currently exploring the potential benefits of integrative health in a variety of situations, including pain management for military personnel and veterans, relief of symptoms in cancer patients and survivors, and programs to promote healthy behaviors.
Mental health is a complex issue, and integrated care is no panacea. But it’s a practical, patient-centered solution with proven benefits, which is not easy to come by...
Combining traditional Western medicine with other practices can result in healthier patients – and lower costs.
Evidence-based research and solutions to health creation is the focus of the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine and is the only viable solution to our current healthcare crisis of non-communicable chronic diseases. It is time we move from philosophy and ideology to action and transformation.
The move to “value”—and thus to exploring the more imbedded use of integrative health strategies as part of fundamental financial and care delivery mission—is a radical shift for the huge medical-industrial complex. Not surprisingly, the process has been slow, and full of heel dragging.
To effectively tackle health inequities, our health systems need to consider and address the impact of cultural influences on patients’ health-care decisions. This is vital even when the treatments they value may not be grounded in evidence.
If we can address the underlying causes of chronic diseases, which are largely dependent on lifestyle changes, and provide incentives for healthy ways of living rather than reimbursing only drugs and surgery, we can create a new model of medicine that is more caring and compassionate, and that is also more cost effective and competent. The time is now.
The mission of the Academic Consortium is to advance the principles and practices of integrative healthcare within academic institutions.
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Integrated Healthcare Executive, part of the Population Health Learning Network, profiles leaders and chronicles innovations in the rapidly evolving field of integrated health care.
The Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine is internationally recognized for its innovative educational programs, evidence-based clinical practice, and research that substantiates the field of integrative medicine and influences public policy.