Monday, August 8, 2016

Can a holistic approach to healthcare improve quality and lower cost?

In an August 4, 2016 H&HN post by Alan Spiro, MD and Adam Perlman, MD, the authors remind us that most health systems in the United States aim to deliver patient-centered care.

According to the authors:

...to accommodate true patient-centered care, the focus of our health care system must shift from only treating disease to also creating health and well-being. This requires adopting a new, integrated model that helps people fulfill their own health needs - an achievement that will ultimately deliver the cost and quality outcomes that health managers seek.
 
If a major goal of health care is to help people live with vitality for as long as they can, we must address the factors - as many as possible - that affect the course of their life-health trajectory. These factors include nutrition and exercise, managing stress and competing priorities, economic forces, and hurdles preventing access to care.
 
In addition to treating illness, health care's goal must, therefore, be to promote well-being and prevention as well as to provide support in virtually all aspects of people's lives. Such a holistic approach is at the very definition of patient-centered care and requires treating the body, mind and spirit using whatever combination of tools is most appropriate. By helping people fulfill their own health care needs in this way, we can achieve lower cost and higher quality.

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