A Descriptive Analysis of an Integrative Medicine Clinic
AbstractObjective: To evaluate and describe an integrative medicine clinic including its patients; their presenting problems, medical objectives, treatment recommendations; whether recommendations were recalled and adhered to; and patients' self-reported health outcomes. Design: A prospective cohort study of 160 new clinic patients were treated using a wide range of integrative medicine therapies. Patients were interviewed at intervals of 1, 3, and 6 months after their initial visit. Setting: The study was conducted at the Institute for Health and Healing clinic, at California Pacific Medical Center located in San Francisco, CA. Subjects: The subjects were new clinic patients seeking care for a variety of symptoms and diagnoses. Intervention: Patients presented with an average of 4.0 symptoms and 2.9 diagnoses; physicians recommended 9.5 "treatments" per patient. Results: At 6-month follow-up, symptom intensity decreased from 6.5 to 4.2 (on a 10-point scale; p < 0.005); and 57% of the patients had made "substantial" progress or had completely achieved their health objectives (p < 0.005). The Short Form 12 (SF-12) measure of mental and physical functioning improved significantly from baseline to one month (p = 0.05; p = 0.001, respectively) and maintained this improvement at 3 (p = 0.01; p = 0.01) and 6 months (p = 0.001; p = .001). At 1-month follow-up, patients recalled 57% of the actionable statements from the physician without a prompt and they followed 55% of all recommendations well (90% or above). Over the follow-up period, patients increasingly attributed the reductions in symptoms (p = 0.01) and achieving their health objectives (p = 0.01) to the treatment plan. Self-reported measures of days ill and days missed at work/school did not differ significantly from the year before coming to the clinic. Conclusion: The results indicate that patients can recall and follow a complex treatment regimen. Subjective and objective measures of patients' health status improved after one month and this effect was sustained or improved further at 6 months follow-up. Further study is needed to determine whether patients' improvement was the result of the treatment regimen.