Two decades ago, the popular movement for integrative health practices prompted researchers to advance “whole systems research” (WSR). As dominant medical delivery moves to embrace Triple Aim outcomes, a remarkable convergence is apparent.
This convergence is at the center of the philanthropically-funded Special Issue on Multimodal Approaches in Integrative Health; Whole Persons, Whole Practices, Whole Systems published in JACM, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers, dedicated to paradigm, practice, and policy advancing integrative health.
This special issue was led by a 12-person international editorial advisory team and was develop in partnership with the global organization of researchers in traditional and complementary; alternative and integrative medicine and health, ISCMR. The convergence theme relative to whole person, health-focused, patient center and individualize; so team-base outcomes is introduce in Values Align for Researching Whole Systems.
Review of whole system research
A Reflective Overview of the Special Issue from Advisory Team members and whole systems research pioneers Heather Boon, PhD, University of Toronto (Canada), Cheryl Ritenbaugh, PhD, University of Arizona (Tucson), and Editor-in-Chief John Weeks.
The body of whole systems research (WSR) is given its first thorough review in the monumental Whole Systems Research Methods in Health Care. The paper examined 41 WSR clinical research exemplars reviewed from across 13 TCIM disciplines; so to map the range and methodological characteristics of WSR studies. The authors conclude that WSR has emerged as a maturing scholarly discipline that is distinguish by; its patient centered salutogenic focus and engagement with nonbiomedical diagnostic and treatment frameworks.
In a related commentary; so similar team, led by Elder, focused on the convergence theme’ Convergent Points for Conventional Medicine and Whole Systems Research, A User’s Guide. Because this issue drew a diverse set of papers; so they focused on shifting the whole systems of pain treatment toward integrative chronic pain models; so in part to combat the US reliance on opioids and pharmacologic approaches.
Integrative chronic pain
Research teams from multiple organizations contributed papers reporting whole person change models in diverse contexts. University of California San Francisco (primary care safety net clinics), US Veterans Administration (whole system), Oregon Medicaid (federally qualified health centers), University of Vanderbilt (outpatient academic medicine), and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (pediatric hospital).
It also includes new exemplars of multimodal; hence WSR methods from Harvard Medical School (multimodal back pain), Ottawa Integrative Cancer Center (multicenter pragmatic trial); Integral Ayurveda and Yoga (obesity) and from a team associated with US Naval Hospital at Camp Lejune (back pain).
One key goal was to explore ways whole systems research related to the popular movement for integrative health; so might be both inform and contribute to medicine’s engagement with health; but other whole-person-oriented and value-based outcomes,” says JACM Editor-in-Chief John Weeks (Seattle, WA), adding. On special Issue Editorial Advisory Team cast a wide net in our call for papers and we believe the catch is compelling