Online Program

Integrative medicine group visits: A new model of care for managing health and well-being

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 4:30 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.

Danielle Dresner, MPH, Program for Integrative Medicine and Health Disparities, Department of Family Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA
Katherine Gergen Barnett, MD, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA
Paula Gardiner, MD, MPH, Department of Family Medicine, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, MA
Robert Saper, MD, MPH, Department of Family Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA
The burden of chronic illness, increasing cost of health care, and fragmentation of health care delivery are critical problems facing the U.S. health care system. Despite advances in science and medical technology, patients continue to experience suffering from chronic health conditions. Integrative Medicine Group Visits (IMGVs) are an innovation in care developed to respond to these issues. IMGVs deliver integrative medicine principles and modalities using the group visit model of health care delivery. The IMGV intervention begins with an intensive 8-week clinical program that combines Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) with patient education and CAM therapies. After the 8 weeks, patients participate in follow-up groups at one-three month intervals. IMGVs take place in the Family Medicine clinic at Boston Medical Center. Each week, 10-12 patients with chronic pain, diabetes and/or other comorbidities meet for 2.5 hours in a group co-led by a family medicine physician and mindfulness instructor. Patients practice MBSR, engage in a health discussion with the physician, and participate in a CAM therapy. Fifty-one patients have completed the IMGV program (n = 5 groups). Sixty-four percent of participants are African American. Twenty-four percent are unemployed and 41% disabled. Sixty-one percent live on less than twenty thousand dollars per year. The average baseline pain score of 7.2 decreased to 6.4 (p=0.02) after 8 weeks. Statistically significant improvements were seen in depression and sleep measures as well. Across all groups the average attendance rate was 65%. Results on the feasibility and effectiveness of offering an Integrated Medicine Group Visits program for low-income diverse populations will inform a larger, adequately powered study.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention

Learning Objectives:
Explain the background and rationale for integrative medicine group visits. Describe the integrative medicine group visits program structure and curriculum. Discuss results of data collected to date, including select outcome measures, demographics and attendance.

Keyword(s): Alternative Medicine/Therapies, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the research coordinator for the integrative medicine group visits study for one year. I plan and organize each group session, recruit patients, and collect and analyze all data for the study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.