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Integrative Medicine and Healthcare Reform

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The Bravewell Collaborative, a philanthropic organization, partnered with the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to convene this past February’s Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public. The primary goal is to make a shift in US healthcare. John Weeks, publisher and editor of The Integrator Blog, poses this question to the integrative medical community: Are Bravewell’s eight key points aligned with your views of “integrative practice”? They are:

• The progression of many chronic diseases can be reversed and sometimes even completely healed through lifestyle modifications.

• Genetics is not destiny.
• Our environment influences our health.
• Improving our primary care and chronic disease care systems is paramount.
• The reimbursement system must be changed.
• Changes in education will fuel changes in practice.
• Evidence-based medicine is the only acceptable standard.
• A large demonstration project is needed.
John Weeks comments that there is particular interest in the double standard which exists around evidence-based medicine. Dr. Michelle Simon, who serves on the summit’s Technology Assessment Panel, said that when evidence-based medicine is applied rigorously, many conventional treatments are not covered. “The evidence simply isn’t there.”
Evidence-based medicine is also a term that is often mis-defined to include only evidence from drug-like trials (with all laboratory and animal evidence excluded). The standard should include all scientific evidence, not just evidence that suits drug companies and the FDA.

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