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Patient Experience with Integrative Medicine in Primary Care

Patient Experience with Integrative Medicine in Primary CareIntegrative medicine, as defined by the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine and the American Board of Integrative Medicine® (ABOIM), is the medical practice that reaffirms the patient-practitioner relationship, focuses on the patient as a whole person, arrives at conclusions based on evidence, and uses all therapeutic approaches, disciplines, and healthcare professionals to achieve optimal health and healing. The University of Arizona Integrative Health Center (UAIHC), an adult primary care clinic with an integrative approach, recently performed a study to assess patients’ experiences with integrative medicine and evaluate the UAIHC’s performance.

First, it should be noted that patients who attend the clinic must complete a thorough health assessment of all areas of health and lifestyle such as diet, exercise, stress, sleep, relationships, and spirituality. Patients also commit to lifestyle changes and health care that emphasizes personal responsibility. Additionally, patients have access to a team of healthcare professionals, as well as groups and classes on nutrition, stress reduction, healthy body weight, yoga, and tai chi.

During the study, 83 randomly selected patients completed surveys that asked about key aspects of integrative medicine including holistic care, promotion of health care and well-being, relationship and communication with practitioner, and overall satisfaction. The results were encouraging for the future of patient-centered, integrative medicine models. Their responses indicated they received whole-person care and established positive, caring relationships with practitioners who promoted patient self-care and well-being. In short, patients reported a high overall satisfaction with the UAIHC.

In light of the public’s longstanding low satisfaction with the American healthcare system, the study provides strong reason to believe that the integrative primary care approach may contribute to a solution. Family physicians seeking to provide optimal primary care by focusing on treating patients as a whole instead of focusing on symptom alleviation should consider board certification in integrative medicine through the ABOIM. Leaders from the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine (UACIM) were influential in the development of the ABOIM.

A Member Board of the American Board of Physician Specialties®, the ABOIM offers board certification to qualified and experienced family doctors who are committed to the innovative and evolving specialty of integrative medicine. Contact the ABPS today for more information about integrative medicine board certification. The ABPS is the official multi-specialty board certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.®