Integrative health emphasizes prevention and health creation, improved quality of life and patient empowerment. Integrative health is a healing-oriented approach to care that focuses on the whole person, including all aspects of lifestyle and wellness. A core component of Integrative Health is a broader treatment approach that combines traditional, western medicine with evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practices aimed at creating health and addressing the whole person.
The Partnership views health not simply as the absence or avoidance of illness, but through a a broader lens, as stated in the the World Health Organization’s definition of health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Many of the strongest predictors of health and well-being exist outside the doctor’s office. Social, environmental and economic factors all influence individual and community health, well-being and resilience.
There is a growing body of evidence-based research looking at the benefits of various components of Integrative Health care for chronic pain, diabetes, hypertension and obesity. Studies have shown that selective herbals, supplements, and nutritional therapies may improve diabetic control, weight and cholesterol levels and mind-body therapies appear to have beneficial effects on a number of outcomes such as glycemic measurements, weight, and waist circumference.
Integrative health, through patient empowerment, self-care, non-invasive treatments can positively contribute to improved social functioning, quality of life, stress reduction, improved mental health status and increased individual and family resilience.
In addition to the positive medical, emotional and social outcomes of Integrative Health, several studies have demonstrated the cost savings with the use of Integrative Health care practices.
- Acupuncture can reduce the need for knee surgery with savings of $9,000 per patient. Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM) can reduce days in hospital or nursing home following stroke at a savings of $26,000 per patient and postpone heart surgery due to clinical improvements, resulting in return to work at a total savings of $31,000. (Data from Acupuncture Center, Klampenborg, Denmark)
- Manipulative therapies for neck pain were as effective as and less costly than physical therapy or care by a general practitioner.
In 2014, the Health Funders Partnership of Orange County launched a unique partnership with the Coalition of Orange County Community Health Centers and the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine and its Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine to transform Orange County’s health care safety net to a system that is focused on creating health and wellness for individuals, families and communities with the ultimate goal of improving population health and wellness focused on its community health centers and clinics.
This comprehensive initiative aims to transform the culture, practice and care delivery models of participating clinics serving the underserved from a disease-based management model to a sustainable integrated health approach centered on. The Initiative is engaging and supporting Orange County community health centers and clinics in a collaborative learning and implementation process. The Initiative is supported by multiple funders who believe that supporting clinics in this change process is critical to transforming how health care is delivered to the underserved and improving health outcomes across Orange County.
Future learning collaboratives will be launched for additional clinic participation.
The following organizations play a critical role in implementing this initiative:
The Partnership has supported the Initiative since the early design stages and will continue to provide annual funding support through 2019.
The Partnership is grateful to the following funders for their generous support of this Initiative: