NWHSU and AIHM: Transforming Health Care at annual conference

Rob Karwath for NWHSU | September 25, 2018

NWHSU recognized as integrative care leader as person-centered approach is highlighted in new film shown at the national AIHM conference.

Northwestern Health Sciences University (NWHSU) is featured as an integrative health care leader in a new film released this week at the nation’s largest gathering of health professionals committed to the approach of bringing together treatment experts of all kinds to benefit those seeking care.

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NWHSU faculty and administration are featured in the film, “Transforming Health Care,” which is being premiered to the nearly 1,000 attendees at the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine’s (AIHM) Annual Conference in San Diego. The film addresses the need to refocus how medical systems care for patients and offer services in the marketplace. NWHSU is highlighted as the best-practices example of integrative care.

“We have made a commitment to putting the person at the center of all we do, and we’re grateful that the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine has chosen to feature our approach,” said Northwestern interim President and CEO Deb Bushway, PhD.

She added, “NWHSU is offering a critical piece of the puzzle to improve our nation’s health-care systems. Issues such as the opioid crisis require innovative thinking. Integrative solutions, such as those taught and used at our institution involving professions such as chiropractic, acupuncture and massage therapy, are essential components to future, person-centered care models.”

Northwestern Executive Director of Research and Policy Michele Maiers, DC, MPH, PhD, said, “One of the problems with contemporary health care is patients see a provider, and then they go to another provider and then they go to another one. So their care is disjointed.”

Maiers added, “Overcoming the barriers to scaling integration is going to take a dedicated effort, [with] health-care policy makers, the third-party payers—the insurance companies—and patient advocacy groups coming together and really deciding they want to prioritize public health over profit.”

A person-centered approach also requires health-care providers and stakeholders from all disciplines building bridges and fostering stronger professional relationships. Under this model, individuals receive the right care at the right time from providers who know each other’s expertise, can interact and collaborate across disciplines and can choose the best and most effective treatment to achieve health and wellness.

The film highlights the decade-old partnership between Northwestern and the University of Minnesota’s Masonic Children’s Hospital. It describes cases of those whose care includes traditional medicine as well as massage, acupuncture and chiropractic, some of the modalities taught at Northwestern.

“When you have a person-centered approach to care, the person is part of the health-care team,” said Michele Renee, DC, MAc, MT, Director of Integrative Care and the Massage Therapy Program at Northwestern. “And when you have multiple people on the health-care team, everybody is there to educate everybody else and help make the best possible recommendation for that person.”

She added, “The biggest challenges and barriers to integrative care are financial. Patients don’t necessarily have the out-of-pocket resources to select the types of care that would be most efficient and effective for them. So we really need to overhaul our health-care system from a financial standpoint—from the reimbursement standpoint—and from the incentive standpoint for providers.”

The goal of integrative care is replacing a siloed approach with collaboration among providers, who together can produce better care and outcomes.

“Consumers are driving markets all over the place, in the sense of different industries,” said Northwestern College of Chiropractic Dean Trevor Foshang, DC, DACBR. “The reality is we have not done that with health care. We haven’t put the person at the center of this conversation.”

Bushway said, “We hope this film is a step toward educating more of the health-care industry about the integrative approach we teach in our classrooms and use in our clinics and with our partners such as hospitals. We see the strong results of this approach every day. We want to bring this way of thinking and practicing to more providers and to the national conversation about how to better serve Americans and their health.”

The program features key industry interviews and news-style reports along with sponsored editorial profiles.

For more than 75 years, Northwestern Health Sciences University, based in Bloomington, Minn., has provided world-class professional education and research as well as comprehensive health and wellness services. Its more than 130 faculty members annually teach about 6,500 students pursuing degrees and continuing education in accredited programs in chiropractic, acupuncture, therapeutic massage, Chinese medicine, nutrition and other health treatments. Northwestern has more than 7,500 graduates throughout the U.S. and in 21 countries. For more information, please visit nwhealth.edu.

Download the press release here: Northwestern recognized as integrative care leader