Integrative medicine is a type of medical treatment that considers the whole person, not just one or more symptoms. It emphasizes the healing power of the body and believes that the body is an interconnected system. Holistic medicine also considers other aspects of a patient's lifestyle, such as diet and sleep habits.
This style of medicine combines Western scientific medicine with an empathetic understanding of illness.
The approach has its advantages and disadvantages. It may involve multiple teams of specialists treating the patient. One disadvantage is the potential for disagreement between these teams. However, this can be avoided by having the main team consult other specialists. This type of approach may be a good fit for some patients.
Integrative medicine is a good choice for patients with a chronic condition, or those seeking to improve their overall health. It requires a commitment to a treatment plan, and often requires lifestyle changes. Many patients report a higher level of satisfaction with their care and a greater sense of peace of mind.
Integrative medicine doctors combine conventional diagnosis and treatment with complementary and alternative therapies to treat the whole person. These doctors seek the underlying causes of a patient's symptoms, and work with their patients to restore balance and healing in the body. Holistic doctors may recommend nutrition therapy, hormone therapy, and other natural treatments as part of the process.
Integrative medicine practitioners are becoming increasingly common. Many hospitals have opened integrative medicine clinics. It is important to check credentials before choosing a practitioner. Also, ask if the integrative medicine clinic coordinates with your primary care provider. You should also be sure to make sure that the treatment you receive is evidence-based.
Integrative medicine places a high emphasis on the patient-provider relationship.
Coordination of care
In recent years, health care systems and integrative practitioners have been working together to improve care coordination and communication. This has been made possible through shared information systems, streamlined access to specialists, and centralized patient intake and discharge information. These practices are the backbone of coordinated care. To achieve this, practices need to make sure that they are fully aware of patient priorities and how best to address them.
However, these approaches have their challenges. For example, the lack of a fixed "integrative" intervention may make it difficult to determine the cause of an outcome. Further, a patient may only need integrative care in certain cases. For other patients, linkage or collaborative structures may be more appropriate.
Integrative medicine programs are gaining popularity in US primary care settings. Several hospitals are trialing programs for patients and evaluating their effectiveness. Several have found positive results. One study involved a large community hospital in California that included an integrative medicine clinic. The study included 160 patients to evaluate its effects on overall patient care.
Integrative medicine focuses on the whole person, using all appropriate therapeutic approaches, health disciplines, and lifestyle changes to help patients achieve optimal health. It is based on the theory that the individual's mental, physical, and emotional needs influence one another. Integrative health providers emphasize communication and collaboration to ensure the best results.