INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE SERIES: PART TWO – CAN THIS APP CURE YOU?

THIS IS PART TWO OF A THREE PART SERIES. YOU CAN READ THE FIRST POST, HERE.

“Take a deep breath…and welcome to the 7 days of calming anxiety” says the soothing voice on my Calm app this morning..I’m ready! Lets settle in and get my anxiety under control!

As I spoke about in my first blog in this series, Integrative Medicine is a growing trend, but how is it being influenced by technology?  Technology is opening up access for patients to integrative health concepts.  With my Calm app, I am able to learn and practice mindful meditation with guided instruction, motivation, and a calendar which teaches me meditation concepts and encourages me to meditate more.  Is there a downside to the combination of technology and integrative medicine?  Dr. Robinson, who heads the Integrative Medicine Department at UF Health Cancer Center – Orlando Health says:

“My main concern <with> technology <is that>-we are getting a huge amount of folks that will go online and will say-here is a new integrative approach, maybe under the title of alternative medicine. Because people aren’t educated on good research and understand good research so they can get misled.  People will sell all kinds of things under the integrative medicine umbrella that really aren’t valid and are frankly quackery.”

In the health and wellness area, there is plenty of technological help on the integrative topics of yoga, meditation, and nutrition – centering on teaching the  interventions and tracking individual progress.  However, very little is to be found on other areas of integrative medicine except lists of herbs and supplements with ways to purchased them and discussions of alternative interventions with direct connections to appointments or practitioners.  In other words, not much integration of different techniques or solutions, not much in discussing what is empirically proven, very little linkage with western medicine and a great deal of advertising.

In contrast, a website that is widely used in the medical community is the Memorial-Sloan Kettering’s “About Herbs”.  

Memorial Sloan Kettering’s About Herbs app

This website and app was developed by a pharmacist and botanical expert to assist patients in making an informed choice about the benefits of herbs as well as interactions and contraindications.  Therefore, if you were interested in turmeric you would be able to see its purported uses, how it works (or doesn’t according to research studies), patient warnings, interactions and side effects.

Why is this site widely used? Because it is comprehensive, unbiased, clinically research based, easy to use, and combined with the traditional medical care. You can also download their app to take the information anywhere.  

Where does that leave the rest of integrative medicine? It seems that it is time for technology to embrace some of these solutions that have been around for 1000s of years in a way that can benefit patients.  I will share some ideas in my next post on Integrative Medicine.  

Don’t forget Dr. Robinson will be speaking on this topic May 17th at FL Health Innovators.  See you there!

2 Responses to “Integrative Medicine Series: Part Two – Can This App Cure You?”