Can an Integrative Medicine Approach Help Prevent Medical Errors?

Article

Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. according to a published estimate, but many could be prevented with a shift in the medical industry from a production-driven to an integrative model of healthcare. The emphasis should be on value-based decision-making that takes into account the whole patient, says editor-in-chief John Weeks in an editorial in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.

In "Integrative Health: Implications from a Report That Medical Errors Are the USA's Third Leading Cause of Death," John Weeks outlines the factors that produce errors, including the medical industry's focus on production of services and the still-limited scientific basis of most medical decisions. He emphasizes the need for changes to the current incentive structure as well as a shift from the medical industry's production orientation toward a value-based approach. He also discusses how future research on integrative practices can help identify interventions associated with fewer and shorter hospital stays, healthier lifestyles, and better outcomes.

"The solution to medical errors may come less from focusing on ending errors than on delivering the kind of whole-person, whole-system, health-focused, individualized care that defines the integrative health movement," says Weeks.

Source: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

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