The Driving Force for Integrative Medicine (IM) is its proven Efficacy and Cost-Effectiveness associated with:
The attention IM places on understanding whole persons and assisting with lifestyle change is now being recognized as a strategy to address the epidemic of chronic diseases bankrupting not only the US healthcare system but also healthcare systems worldwide. The WHO/Europe’s Health 2020 Plan asks for “an integrated approach to health” that implements “whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches.” It may be suggested that Integrative Medicine may be a sustainable solution for Global Health.
Written Evidence for Integrative Medicine (IM) was delivered to the UK Parliament in 2013, which was prepared for publication July 2014.
Oxford Journals Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI Monographs) 2014 issue on Integrative Oncology Academic Health Centers and the Growth of Integrative Medicine and Building the Evidence Base for Integrative Approaches to Care for Cancer Patients and Advancing the Science of Integrative Oncology to Inform Patient-Centered Care for Cancer Survivors
There is a North American Consortium of over 50 Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine (CAHCIM) and other national organizations worldwide, such as the European Congress for Integrative Medicine (ECIM) and the National Institute for Integrative Medicine (NIIM) in Australia, along with prestigious journals such as the International Journal of Integrative Medicine (JIM), European Journal of Integrative Medicine (EJIM), Advances in Integrative Medicine, and Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing.
According to the Bravewell Report on The Efficacy and Cost-Effectiveness of Integrative Medicine: A Review of the Medical and Corporate Literature, “preventative measures focusing on strategies that support health and wellness, such as those found in integrative medicine lifestyle change programs, are successfully decreasing health care costs” on American corporate healthcare spending which is nearly 60% of all after tax profit of which 80% of the costs are spent on merely 10% of all employees. For example, a review of more than 120 studies of comprehensive health management programs offered by employers revealed an average of 26% reduction in health care costs and an average of $5.81 return for every $1 invested. And a recent trial at the Ford Motor Company that tested an integrative medicine intervention program for lower back pain found a significant reduction in prescription pain medication intake that suggests a potential long-term economic benefit to the public. According to the report, “immediate and significant health benefits and cost savings could be realized throughout health care systems by utilizing three integrative strategies:”
➢ Integrative lifestyle change programs for those with chronic disease
➢ Integrative interventions for people experiencing depression
➢ Integrative preventative strategies to support wellness in all populations
There are several scientific evidence-based clinical studies that have proven the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of Integrative Medicine applied to chronic diseases such as Heart Disease, Cancer and Diabetes and Depression as well as an increase in Life Expectancy.
The INTERHEART study published in September 2004 in The Lancet, followed 30,000 men and women on six continents and found that changing lifestyle could prevent at least 90% of all heart disease. Projecting forward, if only ten percent of the coronary angioplasty procedures and coronary bypass operations were avoided by utilization of lifestyle change programs, it would result in a savings of $10 billion dollars annually.
Effect of potentially modifiable risk factors associated with myocardial infarction in 52 countries (the INTERHEART study): case-control study, The Lancet 364 (2004), pp. 937–952.)
The June 2008 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published Dr. Dean Ornish’s more recent work in prostrate cancer, which demonstrated that lifestyle change can affect gene expression. The researchers found that improved nutrition, stress management, walking, and psychosocial support changed the expression of over 500 genes in men with early-stage prostate cancer. They also discovered that oncogenes associated with breast cancer and prostate cancer, as well as genes that cause heart disease, oxidative stress, and inflammation were downregulated or “turned off,” whereas protective genes were unregulated or “turned on” by lifestyle change.
Changes in prostate gene expression in men undergoing an intensive nutrition and lifestyle intervention. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. June 2008. http://www.pnas.org/content/105/24/8369.full.]
A recent diabetes study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine evaluated individuals at high risk for diabetes mellitus and found “lifestyle intervention to be cost effective in all age groups.” The cost (which included direct and non-direct medical expenses adjusted over gained quality years) was approximately $8,800 for the lifestyle intervention compared with a $29,900 cost for an oral drug (metformin) intervention.
The cost-effectiveness of lifestyle modification or metformin in preventing type 2 diabetes in adults with impaired glucose tolerance. Annual of Internal Medicine 2005 Mar 1:142(5):323-32.
The report also states that depression is often overlooked and undiagnosed and that “patients with depression use more medical services than those who are not depressed because unresolved depression often contributes to other health disorders. The cost of illness (COI) for depression in the United States is $12.4 billion per year for direct treatment costs, including doctor visits, hospitalizations, pharmaceutical costs and $4 billion per year for the consequences of not treating depression, such as loss of productivity and workplace absenteeism: A recent trial conducted at Allina Hospitals and Clinics in Minneapolis, Minnesota, evaluated the use of Resilience Training for reducing symptoms of depression and presenteeism (when employees are present but their illness has a negative repercussion on business performance) in hospital employees. This training focused on mind-body skills development, exercise, and nutritional approaches. More than 60% of the employees achieved remission of their depression without the aid of medications, a cost savings in and of itself. However, in addition to lowered stress and anxiety levels, the researchers also found that the Work Productivity and Activity Impairment scores suggested a presenteeism cost savings of $2,181 per employee per year.
In September 2008, a related study published in The Lancet Oncology showed that these same integrative medicine interventions increased telomerase, the enzyme that lengthens telomeres, which are the ends of our chromosomes that control how long we live. The researchers found that telomerase, and thus telomere length, increased by almost 30% in only three months, suggesting that integrative lifestyle interventions can not only reverse disease but may also extend life span.
Increased telomerase activity and comprehensive lifestyle changes: a pilot study. The Lancet Oncology, Volume 9, Issue 11, November 2008, Pages 1048-1057.