How Primary Care Physicians Utilize Integrative Medicine
Any consideration of how Integrative Medicine is utilized by primary care physicians should begin with a definition. The American Board of Integrative Medicine® (ABOIM) and the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine define it as the practice of medicine that reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, healthcare professionals, and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.
There is, perhaps, no more important relationship between patient and physician than that of the primary care physician with her or his patient. This relationship is focused on prevention and health maintenance, as well as on treatment of occasional illnesses and injuries. The dynamic goes hand-in-hand with the tenets of Integrative Medicine, which include:
- A partnership between the patient and the practitioner
- Consideration of all factors that influence health, wellness, disease – including mind, body and spirit
- Use of conventional and alternative methods to facilitate the body’s innate healing response
- Appropriate consideration given to use of less-invasive and less-harmful interventions, when possible, while addressing the whole person in addition to the specific disease.
- The concept that medicine is based on good science, is inquiry-driven and open to critical consideration of new paradigms
The “whole person” concept of medical care is uniquely suited for the primary care physician-patient relationship. In an ideal world, every patient would have a trusted physician to turn to and rely on, a medical expert who is every bit as concerned with keeping patients healthy as with treating disease and injury. A primary care physician who practices Integrative Medicine focuses on building a relationship with the patient, a relationship based on trust and the mutual goal of physical, mental and emotional wellness.
To learn more about Integrative Medicine and the ABOIM, contact the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS®). The ABPS is the official multi-specialty board-certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.