THIS IS THE FINAL INSTALLMENT OF A THREE PART SERIES. READ THE FIRST POST HERE, AND THE SECOND HERE.
What does the future hold for Integrative Medicine and technology? A great deal of promise! As Diane Robinson, PhD, discussed in my last post, there is a great deal of interest and research about what integrative medicine strategies work for patients, especially those with chronic disease:
“It’s important to work with the institutes…to get the research into the hands of the public. There is so much great research but it takes 20-30 years to get into actual practice. Technology has the chance to make those statistics so much better.”
Some ideas that come to mind:
-A search of symptoms and pressure points that can benefit from acupuncture.
-Restorative yoga poses that benefit specific symptoms for patients undergoing chemotherapy.
-A symptom list for a chronic disease with a listing of multiple and complementary integrative medicine approaches and how they may interact or support western approaches such as drugs or surgery
-A diary app to go with an integrative medicine instructional program to encourage but also to track and monitor its effects so that a patient can monitor whether the approach is beneficial or not.
An example of integrative medicine technology that I can speak to is the Refresh study that I am participating in online.
Refresh (Recovery from Cancer-Related Fatigue) is targeted towards cancer survivors battling long term fatigue. It is an 8 week class, completely online, that introduces and invites participant to complimentary integrative medicine to learn to cope with, manage and improve fatigue. Each lesson starts with education on a particular topic, such as sleep hygiene, explaining why this intervention may benefit a fatigued survivor. It explains step by step how to integrate the intervention into your current situation (no small feat for those of us suffering from fatigue) and then has a simple tracking mechanism to promote compliance and monitor results.
Through my personal experiences and research, I’ve found that successful technology for integrative medicine needs to have the following:
-Specific for a targeted population
-Clinically sound and research based interventions
-Incorporation and acknowledgment of traditional medicine
-Accessibility with easy to understand information and instruction
-Embedded motivational theory/change management tools
-Tracking for compliance as well as monitoring results
Starting to get some ideas? How and where do you begin? Dr. Robinson, at our meetup May 17th can help guide you. See you there!