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Holistic Patient Care: A Comprehensive Guide

holistic patient care - Acupuncture CPT Codes for 2023

More Americans than ever before are embracing holistic healthcare over conventional medicine with nearly 40% of adults using some form of alternative patient care to date. Whether it’s to alleviate chronic pain, reduce stress, or for other benefits, there are countless holistic patient care approaches to prevent, treat, and manage almost every condition or illness.

What is Holistic Care?

Holistic patient care refers to the provision of care based on a mutual understanding of the patient’s physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual dimensions. In addition, holistic care emphasizes the partnership between nurse and patient and the negotiation of healthcare needs that lead to recovery.

Holistic healthcare is a form of medicine that treats the “whole person,” treating not the physical self, but also the emotional, spiritual, and mental facets as well. Whereas conventional medicine seeks to provide treatment for pain or the ailment, holistic healthcare focuses on both treatment and prevention. For example, if a patient has an ailment and turns to holistic care therapy for help, the holistic practitioner will seek any underlying causes, including the patient’s stress levels and diet. 

Conventional vs Holistic Patient Care

Conventional healthcare is an approach to medicine that’s based on modern science, and which evaluates the human body, its disorders, and medical treatments in purely biophysical or biochemical terms. Common treatment methods include drugs, radiation, and surgery, for example. Additionally, conventional medicine often utilizes the most statistically likely diagnosis and treatments that work on larger populations through scientific studies, over individualized or specialized methods.

holistic care

Conventional medicine and holistic care differ in three primary ways:

Treatment of Illness:

Holistic care treatments often incorporate medication, natural solutions or supplements, or diet and exercise regimens, like yoga. On the other hand, conventional medicine often includes formal tests and standardized treatments for every patient based on the illness. Treatments often include medication, with brief suggestions for lifestyle changes rather than concrete emphasis or direction to make those changes. 

Cause of Ailment:

While conventional medicine looks at physical components, such as corporeal symptoms and genetics, for the causes of illnesses, holistic healthcare looks at the overall wellness of the patient. This includes any possible imbalances, such as issues with mental health and diet, and discussion on how to level out imbalances.

Insurance Coverage:

Until recently, many holistic care practitioners were not covered by insurance or were out of network. One survey by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health found that Americans pay more than $30 billion per year on alternative medicines out of pocket. With trends like these, insurance companies are taking note and are moving to be more inclusive of holistic healthcare.

5 Benefits of Holistic Medicine

There are numerous benefits to utilizing holistic healthcare in your wellness journey, ranging from the practitioner’s approach to their overall goal of treating you as a whole person rather than the symptoms of an illness. 

Such advantages include:

  • Practitioners who offer safe, natural, and effective medicinal treatment options that include lifestyle and self-care, and who use alternatives to traditional prescription drugs and invasive procedures whenever possible.
  • Aiming to treat the underlying cause of disease or condition, instead of just managing the symptoms; holistic care providers will take time to understand their patients as a whole and treat them as such as opposed to just treating individual components 
  • Prevention is the primary goal, as well as helping the patient unlock their innate healing abilities; patients are seen when they’re well and when they’re sick, which helps the patient and practitioner form a plan for continued well-being and disease prevention
  • In part due to the growing popularity of holistic medicine, more Western medical practices are adding supplemental holistic care – making it more accessible for patients. Hundreds of healthcare centers, including hospitals affiliated with Duke, Yale, Johns Hopkins, and other top medical research centers, are also offering holistic therapies, including acupuncture, massage therapy, meditation, Chinese herbal therapy, and more.
  • For patients increasingly dissatisfied with the minimal time they receive with doctors and with physicians who seem to prescribe a pill for every woe, integrating their conventional treatments with holistic therapies or completely choosing a holistic approach to medicine offers a refreshing new take on care. 

What to Look for When Choosing a Holistic Practice

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When seeking to incorporate holistic medicine into your overall wellness plan, there are a number of qualities to consider. Here’s where to start: 

Understand Which Specialty - If Any - You Need

First, determine if you’re trying to address a particular ailment or if you want a generalized holistic approach. For example, searching for an acupuncturist might take you down a different path than an Osteopath who can treat all the same ailments as traditional docs (coughs, UTIs, you name it), but they are especially helpful for migraines, back and neck pain, period aches, arthritis, and digestive woes.

Ask Them About Their Approach to Holistic Medicine

This is inherent to whatever your goal is with exploring the many benefits of holistic medicine but essential to know how the particular practitioner approaches treatment. Do they lean more on herbal remedies or energy healing? What’s their background in this type of holistic healthcare? Learning more about the practice and holistic provider can help inform your options when moving forward.

Be Sure They’re Open to Integrative Care With a General Practitioner

While holistic healthcare can offer tremendous benefits and alternatives to conventional medicine, you’ll probably still want to utilize your conventional medicine provider for some situations. This is why it’s important to know if your holistic practitioner can coordinate care with your general practitioner for an overall holistic plan.

How Can Holistic Billing Support Holistic Practices?

No matter what type of holistic practice you’re running, your medical insurance billing processes could use some help. Medical billing is especially complicated for holistic practices and can possibly overwhelm your business as you focus on growing your practice and provide care for your patients. By outsourcing your medical billing, you can leave the responsibility of insurance enrollments, credentialing, and medical billing and coding to the experts – saving you time!

As an experienced billing provider for holistic practices, Holistic Billing Services can help your practice navigate the intricacies of insurance billing claims to minimize denials, increase your revenue, and grow your practice. We understand the unique needs of holistic practices, as well as the common obstacles you face when it comes to medical billing and coding. With a knowledgeable partner by your side, you can streamline your billing and increase your revenue cycle management! To learn more about our services, talk to one of our billing and coding experts today.

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August 26, 2021
 - by Antonio Arias, MBA, CHBME

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