What is Integrative Primary Care?
ByMackenzie Prentice, DNP, APNP •December 7, 2022
Integrative Primary Care describes an approach to prevention, wellness and disease management that emphasizes getting a patient to their optimal state of being. This means integrating different forms of treatment that both the patient and provider decides is best.
During my initial visit with patients I often show and discuss a visual scale called The Illness-Wellness Continuum (Travis, 1972).
This scale describes the different degrees of a patient’s health. The dotted line in the middle or “Neutral Health Status” describes someone free from visible illness and still not feeling optimal. In my experience in the conventional world, the goal is to move patients from the left to the neutral point which is considered healthy. Integrative Primary Care strives to move patients even past that neutral point and towards the goal of optimal wellness. In order to achieve this goal, there are several key principles that are fundamental:
- The use of evidence-based therapies (both conventional and alternative); using natural and the least invasive interventions whenever possible.
- An emphasis on Nutrition, physical activity and environment.
- A comprehensive history review, screening and testing to identify root cause of current illness or symptoms and also to prevent illness early on.
- A focus on mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
- A collaborative relationship between the patient and provider.
What does this mean for you? No matter which point on the spectrum you are currently on, Integrative Primary Care is a great option. You may benefit from yearly comprehensive bloodwork and lifestyle recommendations or you may benefit from more comprehensive testing and prescription medication. Optimal wellness is always a process and rarely a static state; your Integrative Primary Care provider works best as a consistent lifelong relationship.
Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.