Integrated Medicine: Separating Buzz from Substance

Integrative Medicine About 15 years ago, “integrated” became a big buzzword. Companies in different industries started using “integrated” in their sales presentations, marketing campaigns, and business models. Some companies started using “integrated” in the name of the business.

You have integrated marketing, which is designed to make sure different marketing tactics are part of a single cohesive strategy and support the same objective and message.

You have integrated technology, which is designed to simplify the management of technology and make sure all departments within an organization have access to a single version of accurate, up-to-date data.

You even have integrated pest management, which is designed to coordinate methods for controlling pest populations and reduce the usage of pesticides and other chemicals.

I don’t claim to be an expert in any of these industries. But in the world of healthcare, I can tell you that the phrase “integrated medicine” is used far too casually – and often in a deceptive way.

For example, a practice may have 20 doctors, but if all of these doctors share the same areas of expertise, that’s not integrated medicine. It just means it will probably be easier to get an appointment because there are a lot of doctors.

However, a practice with 20 doctors who specialize in different areas doesn’t automatically qualify as an integrated medicine practice. If each doctor is working a vacuum, the only advantage is that you have a bunch of different doctors in the same place.

It’s only integrated if all of these doctors are working together to help you maintain or restore your good health. It’s only integrated if the goal is to help patients achieve true wellness, an optimal state of physical and mental function that balances all three components of the Triad of Health – the physical, nutritional and psychological.

Otherwise, the word “integrated” is probably being used to describe a more efficient economic model, not a better way to care for people. For some practices, the phrase “integrated medicine” is nothing more than a marketing ploy. Intentionally or unintentionally, the phrase is misleading.

In other words, the beneficiary of an integrated approach to health and wellness should be the patient, not the practice.

That’s another core characteristic of integrated medicine. Rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach to treating patients, each patient receives a customized treatment plan, drawing from the expertise of a team of doctors and clinicians who collaborate to produce the best possible outcome.

Before “integrated” became a popular buzzword, such a practice was often said to provide holistic, alternative or complementary health services. Unfortunately, those terms often raised questions about credibility and effectiveness because these practices were viewed as anti-establishment.

Isn’t it ironic that the establishment, after a decades-long chronic illness epidemic has caused healthcare costs to skyrocket, is finally coming around to the integrated model?

Isn’t it ironic that the establishment is finally recognizing that the current sick care model of reactively treating illness is unsustainable, and we must transition to a health care model that focuses on preventing illness?

Before you make an appointment with a doctor or practice because the word “integrated” is used in their marketing or the name of the practice, ask two important questions.

What exactly are you integrating?

How exactly are you integrating these things?

If the criteria outlined above isn’t met, keep looking. Or schedule an appointment with us at Natural Healthcare Center.

About Dr. James Proodian

Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician, health educator, and professional public speaker who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise is in identifying clinical imbalances and restoring the body to health and functionality. Contact: jproodian@naturalhc.com or (732) 222‑2219.

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