There are many buzz words around holistic care – integrated, whole person, primary care integration, and others. It can be confusing. But all these terms are all really talking about the same thing – care of the whole person care, a true holistic approach.
But what does it take to provide holistic care? First and foremost, care teams must come together. They need to coordinate communication and pool their resources. And sometimes this means public and private providers working together. This may feel like a tall order, but it’s necessary to make the approach work.
Why shake things up?
Why should we need to move toward holistic care? The list is long: staff shortage, limited resources and, most importantly, the understanding that this is the best way to help the patient. By working together, we can leverage resources and save money.
Research also supports improved health outcomes as a result of holistic care. And the very latest research shows stronger engagement of the patient, which leads to greater adherence and better outcomes.
How do we get there?
Yes, as with anything, there are hurdles.
First, we have to change our thinking. What does your team need to do differently?
Consider these two key principles:
Meet the patient where they are
Understand what the patient values
A good approach is to pull together a team of doers who are willing to get you from where you are to where you want to go. It’s important to lean on your internal experts.
Second, get involved with community networks and change agents – think tanks, nonprofits, legal groups and others that will lead to meaningful, lasting partnerships.
Find your place at the table
We all must see the value of holistic care. People are already around the table talking about it. Go find your place at the table. If you are interested in making a go of a holistic approach, find a small group of patients to start with. Don’t go too big too fast – just start.
There are many emerging success stories. California is big on whole person waivers, covered by Medicaid. North Carolina is looking at the Healthy Opportunities Pilot (HOP). Florida also has pilots in place.
Blaze Advisors is working closely with a 1,000 bed capital region health system to form a network that will look at target populations and data sharing.
Bottom line: holistic care is the way of the future, for the good of the patient.
Now is the time to embrace it.