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Mind-Body Practice Results in 43% Reduction in Use of Healthcare Services

(The Integrator Blog) [A research] team took a retrospective look at healthcare utilization of more than 4000 patients in the Relaxation Response Resiliency Program (3RP) and compared them to a usual care cohort. The finding: "At one year, total utilization for the intervention group decreased by 43%, clinical encounters decreased by 41.9%, imaging by 50.3%, lab encounters by 43.5%, and procedures by 21.4%.  Measured by dollar, reduction was estimated as "on the order of $2360/patient/year." The authors note that "this reduction is on the order of that found by 3 other groups in "other similar time-limited interventions."
Their Policy Recommendation: "The data suggests that the intervention should be applied to all at risk populations, since the intervention has minimal risk, minimal cost and yields substantial benefits for patients with a wide variety of illnesses. The long-term effect of these interventions on healthy populations is unclear, but the data suggests that mind body interventions should perhaps be instituted as a form of preventative care similar to vaccinations or driver education. Such interventions are likely to be useful in population management and supported self-care, have negligible risk and cost and may help reduce the demand curve in healthcare. While the risk benefit ratio of this intervention is very favorable to further elucidate the effect size a prospective evaluation is called for."…
Comment: This is a very important paper showing a huge reduction with tremendous potential personal and socio-economic benefits. Imagine the headlines if a pharmaceutical was found to have this impact. Given the cost crisis in US medicine, a network of trials should immediately begin with multiple populations in diverse social and cultural settings to see how well these findings can be replicated.
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