These two approaches to health care (western allopathic model and functional medicine model) can successfully join forces ( integrative medicine) through genetic research and updated standard of (preventative and restorative focused) care that will help bridge the gap between the worlds of personalized (clinical) medicine and evidence-based generalized (research) medicine (Teutsch et al., 2009). A collaborative approach to medicine offers the best of both worlds and can be done in a single venue. The challenges to healthcare will be resolved by replacing a fee-for- service model with a value based outcome approach to treating patients. Lowering the cost of treating pre-existing conditions by 80-90% is possible using medical systems currently in place by other developed countries with proven results. The U.S ranks 49th in health outcomes among developed nations, just behind the Dominican Republic!
Integrative Medicine gained acceptance as a board certifiable specialty under the American Board of Physician Specialties in May 2014. The American Board of Physician Specialists defines Integrative Medicine 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.” It is a vast, encompassing field, but deals with therapeutic modalities such as acupuncture, herbalism, Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, yoga, and meditation.
The Integrative Medicine Program at Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center at Dallas is open to everyone. The program combines complementary, holistic, ancillary and traditional medical approaches, optimizing the foundations of good health for body, mind and spirit. Lifestyle, diet, exercise, and mind-body medicine are integrated with traditional care to promote optimal health and healing. Baylor providers believe that the unique makeup of each patient and their environment contribute to personalized recommendations for best health.
The Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr. Mark Hyman, received a gift of $1 million from Pure Encapsulations (Sudbury, MA) for clinical research, education, curriculum development, community programs and policy change initiatives. Cleveland Clinic’s functional medicine division opened in September of 2014 and is the first major, academic medical clinic to pursue functional medicine in an allopathic setting in collaboration with the Institute for Functional Medicine. Patients are coming from across the country to receive this type of opportunity to be treated. For more information, visit www.clevelandclinic.org.
Mayo Clinic is now conducting studies to prove the efficacy of functional medicine. Evaluation of a functional medicine approach to treating fatigue, stress, and digestive issues in women found that functional medicine to be an effective approach to managing stress and gastrointestinal symptoms. The showed significant improvements in many stress, fatigue, and quality-of-life measures.(Cutshall, Bergstrom, & Kalish, 2016)
The Swedish Cherry Hill Family Medicine Program in Seattle, Washington is committed to providing excellence in education to all of the residents in Integrative Medicine. Swedish has created a one year fellowship provide for training in Integrative Medicine. There will be foundational curriculum in Integrative Medicine for all fellows including nutrition, botanicals, mind-body medicine, botanical medicine, and spirituality in medicine. In addition, the fellow will choose an area of particular interest to pursue through CME, self-directed learning and work with area practitioners.
Providence Health and Services and St. Joseph Health in Seattle, Washington have merged to create Providence St. Joseph Health, a not-for-profit health and social services system to serve as the parent organization committed to improving mental health care in the United States. The newly formed organization has established the Foundation for Mental Health and Wellness to oversee the work which is supported by an initial million dollar investment that will be used to identify and advance innovative solutions in mental health. Grants will be used to distribute the funds to entities and organizations across communities in seven states-Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. The new system formed in June of 2016 with system offices based in Renton, Washington and Irvine, California.
The Functional Forum is the world’s largest integrative medicine conference. On the first Monday of every month offers practitioner education brings together the latest health news, functional medicine research, practice development and health technology archived for free on Youtube Channel. The forum also offers innovative business models being developed around the country for integrative and functional medicine. (http://functionalforum.com/category/podcast/)
Imagine what change might take place when these forward looking medical organizations incorporate functional medicine, orthomolecular psychology and biocybernetic approaches to health care and mental health. Restorative medicine in an integrated setting, utilizing the best proven approaches to rebalance health, will reduce costs and lead to an enormous shift towards positive long-term health outcomes.
CONNECTED WELLNESS CENTER: A NEW MODEL FOR HEALTHCARE
In the past seventy five years American life expectancy has fallen behind that of most countries due to real declines in the underlying health of Americans, ranking 49th of developed nations, just behind the Dominican Republic for health outcomes.
A project by Professor Dana Goldman (Director of the University of Southern California Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, Los Angeles, USA) modeled what U.S. longevity would look like if U.S. health trends approximated those in Western Europe. The study quantifies the public finance consequences of the deterioration in health. The model predicts that, by improving our current medical system to reflect the health status enjoyed by Western Europeans, Americans could save up to $1.1 trillion in discounted total health expenditures by 2050.