Ever heard of integrated healthcare? Probably not. It’s a revolutionary way of getting all of your health care needs in one place. Many integrated health care clinics in the nation feature primary care, OBGYN care, dentistry, optometry, pharmacies and mental health services (counseling and psychiatric services). Basically, it’s a one-stop shop for all of your health care needs.
Integrated healthcare is probably most important for mental health services. Mental health is often overlooked and oftentimes people are scared to talk about it because it’s so stigmatized. People are scared that they will be looked at as being crazy if others
saw them walking into a psychiatric office or counseling clinic. However, an integrated health care clinic offers people with mental health issues can go into the clinic without feeling like they’re out of the ordinary.
Integrated health care is good for mental health services because oftentimes mental health issues come in the form of psychosomatic pain. This means that physical ailments are caused by mental health distress. Physicians will oftentimes overlook the mental health part of a physical ailment, but in an integrated health care system, a counselor or psychiatrist can consult a patient who’s in to see a physician for physical pain that may be directly connected to a mental health issue.
The use of integrated health care allows for increased communication among health care professionals. It allows for physicians to talk to dentists to talk to counselors, which means that the patient can get the best care. Our bodies work as a whole and being able to go to a clinic where we can treat our bodies as a whole is helpful.
If you’re thinking that this sounds pretty good, you’re right. This way of running our health care just makes sense. So, why isn’t this more popular? It all comes down to money. It’s all about profit. The pharmaceuticals and doctors all make more money when patients go to separate doctor’s offices and are prescribed many different medications.
Integrated care isn’t the norm now, but some are hoping that it will become more popular in the future. For those in support, we’re lucky enough to have an integrated healthcare clinic in the New River Valley. You can learn more about the Community Health Center of the New River Valley by visiting them online or in person at their Christiansburg location.