A recent study underlines one of the many reasons why people may be benefited by holistic practitioners. The study looked at how an additional 45 minutes of patient education can improve outcomes for individuals who have been diagnosed with a chronic illness.
Typical visit to a naturopath is generally 30 minutes or more
Most people who are familiar with the natural and holistic health model of medical care take these longer visits for granted. A typical visit to a naturopath is generally 30 minutes or more, with an initial intake visit ranging from 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on practitioner. The reason for this length is simple. It takes more time to get a thorough history of someone’s health when the entire individual is being taken into account. Also, patient education is a huge aspect of natural health models, and this also takes time.
Study looked at 47 patients diagnosed with chronic illness
It’s this patient education that this current study looked at specifically. They looked at 47 patients who were diagnosed with a chronic illness – hypertension, COPD, or diabetes – who were assigned with a second-year medical student for a 45-minute visit after seeing their physician. This one-on-one visit significantly improved attitudes and abilities in self-managing their care. Subsequent follow-up appointments with the students at 3 weeks and 3 months also demonstrated improvements in willingness and capacity to manage their own care.
“Patients reported a greater understanding of their chronic disease and feeling better equipped to manage their health,” said Alexis Stoner, PhD, director of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine and lead author of this study. “This is encouraging because these diseases typically require patients to take on a lot of responsibility in their care, often through changes in lifestyle.”
The conventional medical system catching up…slowly
This study is a great validation for the need to spend more time with individuals who have complex chronic diseases, as well as conditions that necessitate drastic changes in lifestyle in order to adequately manage. However, the study points out that the current conventional system is not prepared to offer this type of care any time soon, pointing out that physicians don’t have access to second-year medical students who can allocate this time for patient care.
Holistic health care professionals already doing this
Holistic health care, specifically naturopaths, are already doing this, and have been seeing the results of increased patient education and support navigating the medical system for generations. This study validates a model that is currently in use, and supports searching out health care practitioners who will spend the time needed to ensure quality care is being delivered.
- Stoner AM, Cannon M, Shan L, Plewa D, Caudell C, Johnson L. The Other 45: Improving Patients’ Chronic Disease Self-Management and Medical Students’ Communication Skills. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2018;118(11):703-712.
Razi Berry is the founder and publisher of the journal Naturopathic Doctor News & Review that has been in print since 2005 and the premier consumer-faced website of naturopathic medicine, NaturalPath. She is the host of The Natural Cancer Prevention Summit and The Heart Revolution-Heal, Empower and Follow Your Heart, and the popular 10 week Sugar Free Summer program. From a near death experience as a young girl that healed her failing heart, to later overcoming infertility and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia through naturopathic medicine, Razi has lived the mind/body healing paradigm. Her projects uniquely capture the tradition and philosophy of naturopathy: The healing power of nature, the vital life force in every living thing and the undeniable role that science and mind/body medicine have in creating health and overcoming dis-ease. Follow Razi on Facebook at Razi Berry and join us at Love is Medicine to explore the convergence of love and health.