"There are people who need health care, and the question is what should health care look like to best serve our populations and so that our members [patients] enjoy what the World Health Organization describes as 'physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease.' There are many determinants of health, so we must look beyond the sole practitioner and the professions and investigate these complex models."So states Dr. Claire Johnson, editor of the Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics, in her introductory article that anchors the December 2009 issue of JMPT, the journal's latest theme issue. All content in the December issue focuses on different aspects of integrated/integrative health care, particularly as it relates to maximizing patient outcomes and cost-effectiveness.
The theme issue includes review articles exploring, among other topics, integrative care for the treatment of injured workers with neck or back pain referred to a doctor of chiropractic from a medical or osteopathic provider; chiropractic integration within the health care systems of the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs; integrative care communication patterns and cross-disciplinary knowledge at a university clinic; outcomes of patients with lumbar radiculopathy secondary to disk herniation treated at a multidisciplinary clinic (featuring chiropractors and physical therapists) after a diagnosis-based clinical decision rule; differences in allowed cost for managing low back pain by medical providers vs. chiropractors in an integrated care environment; and the successful integration of a chiropractic service line within a large private hospital system.
Is integrated care the future of health care? Says Dr. Johnson: "I have hope that there will soon be a time in which various health professions will work together, in harmony, to serve the best interest of the people. We are beginning to see some of these examples before us. ... Through improved education and cultural competency skills, we seem to be more willing to work together for a common good. Some of these integrated health care environments have demonstrated effective care in addition to cost-saving benefits, which may be a primary driving force in what our health care system will look like in the future."
Issue abstracts for this theme issue are available online at www.journals.elsevierhealth.com/periodicals/ymmt; abstracts will also appear in the next (Jan. 29) issue of DC for your review.