Creating the Right Environment for Health

Creating the Right Environment for Health

© GLOW IMAGES Models used for illustrative purposes

by Don Ingwerson

Would practicing alternative medicine allow her to spend more time with patients and, thus, lead to an environment more conducive to healing?

This final question came from a young lawyer turned physician who, like me, attended a RAND Corporation meeting on alternative health care.Continue Reading

Prescriptions That Are Outside the Doctor’s Toolbox

Prescriptions That Ate Outside the Doctor's Toolbox

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A guest post written by Ingrid Pechke, media and legislative advocate for Christian Science in Massachusetts

Patient-driven care, the mHealth movement, the fact that over a third of the population is willing to pay out of pocket for complementary and alternative medicine–this is today’s health care reality.

From the latest health apps on their mobile devices to having direct access to their online medical records, more people are taking charge of their health. This attitude is reflected in the latest list by Prevention of the 25 Happiest, Healthiest Cities in America. The cities that made the cut are right in line with current views on health: eating right, exercising, staying stress-free, and maintaining a spiritual discipline that involves prayer and a church community.

San Jose, CA got high marks for its abundantly available organic produce, Honolulu, HI boasts endless beaches and low-stress lifestyles, and Fargo, ND offers spiritual satisfaction and high church attendance.

…To read the rest of this blog on the Metrowest Daily News site, click here: Prescriptions That Are Outside The Doctors Toolbox

Link to Ingrid’s blog

Follow Ingrid on Twitter: @IMPeschke

Restoring the Heart to Healthcare

Restoring the Heart to Healthcare

© GLOW IMAGES
Model used for illustrative purposes

by Don Ingwerson

This blog was originally published April 8, 2013, but I wanted to take another look at the importance of “heart” in healthcare after I read the July 8, 2013 Christian Science Sentinel article titled, “A Perfect Heart.” What struck me about that article is the mention that the word heart appears more than 700 times in the KJV Bible, but it almost never references a physical organ! Clearly heart is important as a spiritual concept.

“Mindfulness Meeting This Way” proclaimed a small sign at the entrance of one of the many medical buildings on the UCLA Campus – and suddenly I felt invigorated. I was not there to attend a mindfulness meeting, but to interview the GWish (George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health) project director, Dr. Margaret Stuber, about a Templeton-funded study to promote spirituality and health in medicine and healthcare.

I was so encouraged by my first interview with Dr. Stuber over a year ago as the project was just getting under way, and we discussed prayer, shared decision-making, and accountability in patient-centered healthcare. Dr. Stuber had told me that the medical students were the hardest to convince that they were not the only decision-makers in caring for patients. So you can understand why I was so energized upon seeing the sign in this medical facility about mindfulness!

Spirituality and Health is a relatively new field in medicine and healthcare. “Historically,” says GWish project director Dr. Christina Puchalski, “healthcare in the United States was founded on spiritual values… Over the last 60 years medicine and healthcare have been challenged by the tremendous explosion of technological advances and by the reality of increasing costs. These challenges have overshadowed the primary mission of medicine and healthcare – to serve the whole person with care and compassion.” With this in mind, Dr. Puchalski feels the mission of GWish is to foster a more compassionate and caring healthcare system and restore the heart and humanity to healthcare.

While my questions to Dr. Stuber primarily focused on prayer, shared decision-making, and accountability, ideas we had discussed previously, Dr. Stuber preferred to integrate these elements into a focus on prevention and how to provide more economical and efficient healthcare. She also focused on lesser-used complementary and alternative therapies such as massage, diets, yoga, etc.

She stressed that this is the time for change in healthcare, with prevention as a major element in primary care treatment – and this effort would include elements of mindfulness. As these changes take place, she indicated that more accountability will also be included, with overall quality of patient health affecting the amount of remuneration that those who deliver services receive.

Just as the mindfulness meeting sign was the first thing I saw in the medical facility, I see spirituality included in much of the thinking of those creating new medical and healthcare curricula. As I left the interview and looked at the mindfulness meeting sign again, I was reminded that Mary Baker Eddy, 19th century health researcher and author of Science and Health, gave new meaning to spiritual needs in the area of health by advocating the use of prayer to address the needs of individuals – stressing mind, body, and spirit.

A colleague of mine in England observed, “When we stop seeing ourselves primarily as machines in need of fixing, a more holistic approach is emerging – one that celebrates a patient’s often overlooked understanding of their own needs and the best way to meet them.” If this is what mindfulness leads to, I know I will continue to feel excited and invigorated.

Article first published in Blogcritics.

Integrative Medicine: Recognizing our Innate Capacity to Heal

Integrative Medicine: Recognizing our Innate Capacity to Heal

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A guest post written by Steve Salt, media and legislative spokesperson for Christian Science in Ohio

“What’s up doc?”

Seems the buzz around the medical water cooler these days is integrative medicine.

Think of you and your integrative medicine physician working “as partners to engage body, mind and spirit in attaining and maintaining optimal health.”  This is how physicians at University of Cincinnati Health describe integrative medicine on their website, an approach to health care that patients are requesting and health professionals are seeing as beneficial.

“Complementary” and “alternative” medicine (CAM) has been part of the health lexicon for a generation or more.   The terms have been used to describe those therapies considered outside the traditional scope of medicine or at least beyond the doctor’s comfort zone.  That is changing.

What is being integrated?  Complimentary practices such as mindfulness and spirituality, health and wellness coaching, yoga therapy, massage therapy, stress reduction techniques and acupuncture, treatments considered evidenced-based practices according to UC Center for Integrative Health and Wellness.

Why are they being integrated into the medical regimen now? “It’s about time that medicine put mind and body together and began to treat people in all dimensions of their needs,” says Thomas Boat, MD, Dean of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.  He was addressing a group at the launch of the UC Health Integrative Medicine clinic, part of the Center for Integrative Health and Wellness which incorporates three distinct missions: education, research, and clinical care.

“The word ‘Integrative’ medicine is particularly, I think, meaningful to me because it does signify that we have finally arrived at the point where we understand that all dimensions of people’s existence and people’s experiences really do need to be dealt with,”  Boat said.

“If you look at the number of people who are engaged one way or another with integrative medicine, it’s a huge part of health care,” Dr. Boat told me later.

Dr. Sian Cotton, executive director of the University of Cincinnati Center for Integrative Health and Wellness agrees.  She is responsible for bringing Integrative medicine to UC, a project begun in 2009.

Cotton sees part of her responsibilities as educating “both faculty and students about what is the evidence out there, the good and the bad, so we know what people are doing and what works and doesn’t work.”

The growing body of research pointing to successful uses of integrative practices in health recovery and preservation as well as the increasing demand for these approaches by the public has helped to propel the movement.  Dr. Cotton reports that UC Center of Integrative Health and Wellness is part of a growing number of academic health institutions that currently totals 56 and are a part of the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine.  The organization has established basic core values:

Every individual has the right to healthcare that:

  •       Provides dignity and respect
  •       Includes a caring therapeutic relationship
  •       Honors the whole person – mind, body, and spirit
  •       Recognizes the innate capacity to heal
  •       Offers choices for complementary and conventional therapies

Like Dr. Boat, Dr. Cotton appreciates the significance of all human dimensions being tapped in order to expedite healing.  To her thinking, “when you look at holistic health care and you look at physical health and you look at mental and emotional health and social health and when you look at spiritual health…people get it.  We are of a spiritual nature, a religious nature, we are very spiritual,” Dr. Cotton told me.

Curiously, the spiritual/mindful component has been absent from traditional medical practices with an emphasis solely on physicality.  Wisdom books like the Bible often point to an active spiritual life that “will make you healthy, and you will feel strong.” (Proverbs 3:8) Certainly, health and wellbeing have been a key part of many spiritual practices over the centuries.   And while not singling out any specific spiritual practice, an integrative approach that recognizes the healthful influence of spirituality and mindfulness appears to be gaining wider acceptance.

According to Dr. Cotton her colleagues are embracing much of the integrative philosophy, and medical students participating in integrative classes are being put on the “national landscape” setting “them up to be on par with the students around the country.”

And as health professionals are exposed to the fundamentals of integrative medicine and get more familiar with its application, it will be interesting to document our “innate capacity to heal.”   As Dr. Boat put it, integrative medicine, “It’s here to stay.”

Prevention Through the Eyes of a Spinach Skeptic

Prevention Through the Eyes of a Spinach Skeptic

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by Don Ingwerson

The sight of spinach on my dinner plate can – for me – ruin an otherwise good meal.

Although I’ve always been told that eating spinach makes you healthy, this does little to change my feelings about the value of it. I’m not sure exactly what would make me reconsider my view of this green, leafy vegetable, but research supporting preventative activities that may lower health care costs and eliminate unnecessary hospital and doctor office visits could be compelling.

Similar to my hesitancy about eating certain vegetables, some view other aspects of health with a dose of skepticism, including a mental approach to physical health.

However, many individuals believe and understand that spirituality has an affect on health – but not church attendance or religious activities. Yet studies document positive health effects from spiritual as well as religious involvement.

Such “effects on health are diverse, ranging from such tangible and easily understood phenomena such as a reduction of health-risk behaviors in churchgoers, to more elusive phenomena such as the effects of prayer on health and physiology.”

As medicine expands from a western-style, drug-based domain to also include alternative and complementary options, some caregivers are finding that spirituality can be a key ingredient for good health – especially when considering prevention.

The positive health effects of inward practices, such as prayer and meditation, are not new. The Bible is chock full of accounts of individuals who healed others and were healed of mental, social, and physical problems.

It is no surprise that today medical academic programs include topics on spirituality and alternative/complementary medicines. This trend is mirrored by the fact that nearly 40% of Americans spend $34 billion on complementary or alternative health care per year.  Most of this money is being paid for out of pocket.

Evidently, many see the pursuit of health as more than the exclusive domain of drug-based medicine. Based upon current research, it would seem appropriate that health care include considerations for mind-body connections, which would help reduce the costs of medically based health care as well as strengthen prevention components.

According to Charles Kenny, a fellow at the Center for Global Development, “Americans get terrible value for money from their health spending.” The World Bank indicates that the U.S. spends $8,608 per person per year on health care, but the U.S. has a lower average life expectancy than Chile, where health expenditures are $1,292 annually, or Israel, where expenditures are $2,172 per year.

Given the fact that we need better use of our funds, we might consider preventive aspects further, including those addressing mind-body connections.

When discussing complementary medicines, Dr. Patricia Herman, who published a systematic review of cost studies on complementary and alternative medicine, stated, “I’m tired of this talk that there is no evidence for cost-effectiveness of complementary and integrative medicine. There is evidence. We need to move onto phase two and look at how transferable these findings are. We can take this evidence and run.”

While we consider this, I just may reexamine my perspective on spinach.

Article first published in Blogcritics.

All Hands on Deck

All Hands on Deck

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by Don Ingwerson

One night many years ago while I was serving in the military, the chaplain calmly and quietly told me over the phone that a soldier’s wife had been asphyxiated because of a gas leak in the family housing barracks. He asked me to go immediately to the base hospital and prayerfully support her. You might say that it was a call for “all hands on deck.” In this case it meant that there was only one purpose for us, which was to protect the life of this young woman. And protect her we did.

Recently I was reminded of this incident while reading “Here’s how we build a better health-care system.” The article described our present cutting-edge medical care system, one rooted in technology and supposedly unmatched in the world.

While major technological advances have certainly been made in medical science, I wonder if there aren’t other components that are needed for improving health.

It’s no secret that despite all the advancements in health care, most feel that it’s too expensive, over-treatment is rampant, and prevention is often not the primary goal. According to a recent study covered by The Atlantic, Americans’ health ranks below that of 16 other developed nations, despite the fact that the U.S. spends about $8,000 per person, per year on health care – more than any other nation.

What could be done to change this? Some would argue that a more holistic approach would win the day, focusing more on prevention and less on technology and the volume of treatment.

Dr. Deepak Chopra states in “The Great Divide: The View from the Alternative Side” that “no one could really object to the aims of alternative medicine, which are to bring relief to the whole patient. Sick people come to us in hopes that their suffering will end. If millions of them have been seeking holistic treatments instead of the two-pronged approach of conventional medicine—drugs and surgery—their motivation isn’t irrational.” While many Americans seek various approaches that will work for them, they are paying for non-conventional forms of treatment in addition to allopathic medicine. For example, according to one study, Americans spend $34 billion out-of-pocket on complementary and alternative medicine each year.

These Americans are seeking other options that will work for them, beyond the conventional medical model.

Right now there is a great need to support individuals as they try various health care options to meet their needs. While individuals will look at their options in various ways, typical offerings under health insurance plans need not “straitjacket” our concept of health. In thinking about a deeper sense of health and wellness, some may draw strength from a spiritual source, such as through prayer and meditation, while others will lean on the support of drugs and surgery. And some will do all of the above. Back to the phrase “all hands on deck,” we all must work together to provide and support all patients. Currently, there’s a growing openness toward a scientific study of spirituality and its effects on health.

After analyzing integrative medicine trends, Dr. Patricia Herman published a systematic review of cost studies on complementary and alternative medicine. She said, “I’m tired of this talk that there is no evidence for cost-effectiveness of complementary and integrative medicine. There is evidence. We need to move onto phase two and look at how transferable these findings are. We can take this evidence and run.”

That night when I was asked to be part of the “all hands on deck” crew while treating the soldier’s wife as she fought for her life, I was a member of a team looking for the best treatments available. The doctors were working with their best knowledge on overcoming her physical conditions and the dire predictions, and I was deep in prayer affirming that her divine Creator was good and had created her similarly good, in the Creator’s image, and would never leave her or create something that could harm her. For me, this idea comes from the Bible, where it says, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” This woman was able to joyfully walk out of the hospital refuting the predictions that she would lose all her senses and her ability to walk.

Considering the whole person and his or her spirituality in treatment becomes that “all hands on deck” type of care. So why don’t we follow Dr. Herman’s advice, take the evidence in support of holistic care, and run with it?

Article first published in Blogcritics.

Prayer and the Placebo

Prayer and the Placebo

© GLOW IMAGES

by Don Ingwerson

When the subject of placebos enters into the conversation, what’s the perception? That the brain can fool the body? That doctors sometimes use it to convince the patient that a substance or pill will change the existing conditions of the body? Are there ethics guiding the use of placebos?

The 60 Minutes interview concerning placebos brought to the public an awareness of the existence of the placebo and the effect it has on the body. This high profile and explosive television program with Leslie Stahl and Dr. Irving Kirsch, Associate Director of Placebo Studies Program at Harvard Medical School, not only validated the effect placebos can have but also opened the door to challenge the use of antidepressant drugs that may have negative side effects. As researchers, physicians, and members of the public express more interest in the use of placebos, what constraints or guidance for their use is in place?

In the PLoS One Journal, “British Doctors Increasingly Banking on ‘Placebo Effect,’” describes the inconsistent guidelines and usage surrounding placebos and makes the startling statement that more than three-fourths of British doctors surveyed from a recent study prescribed treatments at least once a week that they knew probably wouldn’t work. Recently the British medical establishment has taken a stance against placebos by declaring them unethical. Yet, one key reason the British physicians use placebos is because of pressure from patients who want something to cure a perceived issue.

On the other hand, the American Medical Association’s stance on placebos is that physicians may only use them when the patient has been made aware. A U.S.–based study found that about half of American doctors give their patients treatments that probably won’t work, but will set their patent’s mind at ease.

What does a placebo do? Under the definition that physicians use of setting a patient’s mind at ease, a placebo could be considered prayer. In an article, “Prayer and Placebo,” David Sack states, “Prayer at the very least is a placebo and placebos have been shown time and time again to be effective.”

However, to accept prayer as a placebo would be to ignore many studies that indicate prayer is much more than a placebo. In the Journal of Holistic Nursing, Prayer and Healing,” Christina E. Hughes states, “There sometimes exists a facet of prayer and healing that defies rational explanation and seems to suggest the existence of a higher power. A case is presented that explores assistance from a higher power as a potential explanation for the healing.”

The Bible supports the statement of the effectiveness of prayer with, “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” From personal experience, I’ve found prayer and meditation puts my mind at ease and maintains my health during physical or stressful conditions. Many others are also finding the benefit of prayer. An earlier NIH study indicated that the public was very interested in alternative and complementary therapies with prayer being the most used at 48%.  It will be interesting to see where public demand leads the medical world and the responses of physicians to this form of treatment.

Article first published in Blogcritics.

Restoring the Heart to Healthcare

Restoring the Heart to Healthcare

© GLOW IMAGES
Model used for illustrative purposes

by Don Ingwerson

“Mindfulness Meeting This Way” proclaimed a small sign at the entrance of one of the many medical buildings on the UCLA Campus – and suddenly I felt invigorated. I was not there to attend a mindfulness meeting, but to interview the GWish (George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health) project director, Dr. Margaret Stuber, about a Templeton-funded study to promote spirituality and health in medicine and healthcare.

I was so encouraged by my first interview with Dr. Stuber over a year ago as the project was just getting under way, and we discussed prayer, shared decision-making, and accountability in patient-centered healthcare. Dr. Stuber had told me that the medical students were the hardest to convince that they were not the only decision-makers in caring for patients. So you can understand why I was so energized upon seeing the sign in this medical facility about mindfulness!

Spirituality and Health is a relatively new field in medicine and healthcare. “Historically,” says GWish project director Dr. Christina Puchalski, “healthcare in the United States was founded on spiritual values… Over the last 60 years medicine and healthcare have been challenged by the tremendous explosion of technological advances and by the reality of increasing costs. These challenges have overshadowed the primary mission of medicine and healthcare – to serve the whole person with care and compassion.” With this in mind, Dr. Puchalski feels the mission of GWish is to foster a more compassionate and caring healthcare system and restore the heart and humanity to healthcare.

While my questions to Dr. Stuber primarily focused on prayer, shared decision-making, and accountability, ideas we had discussed previously, Dr. Stuber preferred to integrate these elements into a focus on prevention and how to provide more economical and efficient healthcare. She also focused on lesser-used complementary and alternative therapies such as massage, diets, yoga, etc.

She stressed that this is the time for change in healthcare, with prevention as a major element in primary care treatment – and this effort would include elements of mindfulness. As these changes take place, she indicated that more accountability will also be included, with overall quality of patient health affecting the amount of remuneration that those who deliver services receive.

Just as the mindfulness meeting sign was the first thing I saw in the medical facility, I see spirituality included in much of the thinking of those creating new medical and healthcare curricula. As I left the interview and looked at the mindfulness meeting sign again, I was reminded that Mary Baker Eddy, 19th century health researcher and author of Science and Health, gave new meaning to spiritual needs in the area of health by advocating the use of prayer to address the needs of individuals – stressing mind, body, and spirit.

A colleague of mine in England observed, “When we stop seeing ourselves primarily as machines in need of fixing, a more holistic approach is emerging – one that celebrates a patient’s often overlooked understanding of their own needs and the best way to meet them.” If this is what mindfulness leads to, I know I will continue to feel excited and invigorated.

Article first published in Blogcritics.

What Does it Take to Be a Wise Health Consumer?

What Does it Take to Be a Wise Health Consumer?

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Model used for illustrative purposes

A guest post written by Ingrid Peschke, legislative liaison for Christian Science and spirituality in Massachusetts

More people are asking themselves this question in part because of the newly mandated healthcare law, or Affordable Care Act, and in part because health care in the United States isn’t exactly delivering on the goods.

“We have a disease care system, not a health care system,” says Shannon Brownlee, senior research fellow at the New America Foundation and author of Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and Poorer. “And the disease care system . . . if it really was honest with itself, it doesn’t want you to die and it doesn’t want you to get well. It just wants you to keep coming back for your care of your chronic disease.”

The title of a report published a few weeks ago by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine speaks volumes: “U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health.”

The report states, “The United States is among the wealthiest nations in the world, but it is far from the healthiest. Although life expectancy and survival rates in the United States have improved dramatically over the past century, Americans live shorter lives and experience more injuries and illnesses than people in other high-income countries.”

According to new health rankings, the United States is last in a ranking of 17 nations. (Atlantic Monthly)

As a participant in the upcoming Association of Health Care Journalists conference in Boston, I’ve followed some of the email discussion threads healthcare journalists are having on the subject of accurately covering health news. One journalist had these points to make:

When looking at health information/research look skeptically at the “evidence.”

Always ask your healthcare professional if s/he knows of ways you can help/heal yourself without or with a minimum of professional intervention (“treatment”). Then ask for options to the recommended treatment(s).

This last bullet could include complementary or alternative forms of medicine–which, according to some estimates, about 70% of Americans seek annually.

One largely overlooked method, but steadily gaining traction is spiritual care–or treatment that acknowledges the health benefits of prayer. It’s a method I’ve practiced for years as a student of Christian Science, which acknowledges the mental nature of disease and provides the spiritual teaching that leads to restored health.

Support is steadily growing for this method of spiritual care. According to a study funded by the John Templeton Foundation (Managed Care Outlook, “National Briefs,” January 1, 1999), 55% of Americans said they would choose a health plan that included spiritual and religious healing practices over a plan that did not.

To find out more about this connection between spirituality and health, I spoke recently with Dr. Harold Koenig, director of Duke University’s Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health and considered the leading expert on the subject. In answer to the question, Do you think more doctors are picking up on the connection between thought/consciousness and health? Dr. Koenig had this to say:

“I’m afraid it’s still about giving people a pill. Our training isn’t to help people understand their health as much as to give them a pill and get them out of the office quickly.”

Despite this sobering picture, Dr. Koenig was quick to add, “Still, there’s a lot of research that emotions influence physiology that could adversely effect or help a patient. Well over 3,000 studies out now suggest that religious involvement/prayer etc. has a connection with a person’s health. They’re not all conclusive, but ⅔ of the studies show this.”

Since stress is the leading cause of doctor visits, dealing with it just might help you avoid the health care system entirely. Women on Twitter have been telling Huff Post their biggest stressors, including one woman who said her biggest stressor was “fear of the flu–not the flu itself, just the fear of it.”

I follow Dr. Lissa Rankin’s blog and find her posts very progressive for a doctor who’s truly rethinking health care on many levels. Her most recent post: “How fear makes you sick.” Both Dr. Rankin and the Twitter responder seem to be recognizing the power of thought in health outcomes.

Perhaps the first place to start is facing fear–fear that illness is inevitable and that there might not be a solution. My daily prayer practice includes facing the fears that try to crowd my thinking and replacing them with an inspired thought I glean from the Bible. Like this one:

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear” (I John 4:18). That’s a wise approach anyone can adopt.

Link to Peschke’s blog

Maintaining Health Through Mandatory Insurance – A Fuzzy Picture

Maintaining Health Through Mandatory Insurance - A Fuzzy Picture

© GLOW IMAGES
Model used for illustrative purposes

by Don Ingwerson

What comprises good health and how to maintain it can sometimes add up to a fuzzy picture for many of us. A growing number of studies point to the ineffectiveness and inappropriate use of drugs, while over-diagnosis and over-treatment by physicians continue to be a concern.

Then there’s the ongoing dialogue about the lifestyle choices we make – the impact of food choices and the value of exercise. But even in these areas, health journals issue a word of caution – individual results are dependent upon personal characteristics and don’t necessarily correspond to research findings.

As individuals create health habits that help them become more accountable for their own health decisions, mandated health insurance policies should provide benefits to cover the services that individuals use to support their health. Many newer studies are indicating that more holistic views and practices enhance the health of those who choose them. Among these holistic views are alternative therapies, which include meditation and prayer. According to author Cara Santa Maria, “An overwhelming 83 percent of Americans say that God answers prayers…”

Yet, even as more of the public see spirituality and prayer as effective in helping individuals maintain their health, researchers remind us that the beneficial effect of prayer/spirituality isn’t confined to churchgoers. Many believe that health care providers should take advantage of this correlation between health and spirituality by tailoring treatments and rehabilitation programs to accommodate the spiritual beliefs of the people being treated.

With more holistic treatments offered by health care providers, more patients likely will take advantage of these treatments – an idea echoed by Dr. Michael J. Barry, MD, who believes patients are ready to hear the message of shared decision making, less treatment, and the inclusion of spirituality.

Although adding spiritual care services like meditation and prayer to an insurer’s list of covered benefits will not, in and of itself, turn our current disease care system into a bona fide health care system, it is a step in the right direction – a step that much of the public desires, that could save money, and that could have a very real impact on the health of our state and our nation.

If nothing else, it could give focus to a pretty fuzzy picture of how to obtain health through the nation’s new and untried health care system, which at present is still deciding what treatment options to offer.

Article first published in Blogcritics