Ben Kliger and colleagues offer new strategies for integrating mind-body medicine into primary care
A growing body of research supports the role for mind-body medicine (MBM), including mindfulness, hypnosis, and biofeedback techniques. These approaches offer safe and cost-saving treatment for common disorders such as pain, irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia, and mental health illnesses. Time and cost pressures on primary care physicians are driving a need to discover novel strategies to provide MBM to more patients. A recently published study in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers examines methods for creating breakthroughs in care delivery.
In the article "Facilitators and Barriers to the Integration of Mind-Body Medicine into Primary Care," coauthors Chelsea McGuire, MD, Boston Medical Center, MA, and Jonathan Gabison and Benjamin Kligler, MD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, found a clear consensus among primary care physicians that insufficient time with patients and reimbursement issues are barriers to integrating MBM more fully into their practices. These challenges are aggravated by rising demand due to increased access associated with the Affordable Care Act. The researchers present innovative strategies providers are using to overcome these challenges. Among these are group patient visits and ways to begin a conversation with patients about stress management and use of MBM before the physician even enters the room.
"Mind-body medicine is one area where we have evidence of significant value that is not yet being appropriately integrated into the care people receive on a regular basis," says The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine Editor-in-Chief John Weeks, johnweeks-integrator.com, Seattle, WA. Weeks points to a recent paper that found a huge reduction of utilization of medical services among patients in a mind-body program. "We need more focus on implementation research such as this contribution by McGuire, Gabison, and Kligler," Weeks adds.