Have you ever taken your child to a pediatrician at the same clinic where you see your doctor? If so, you know it’s convenient and time-saving, especially when you can get back-to-back appointments. A clinic that employs two or more types of medical specialists is called an integrated health clinic. For instance, a clinic that employs a physical therapist and an orthopedist would be considered integrated. These two specialties benefit from being in the same location because they both help patients with musculoskeletal problems. That’s the point of a well-designed integrated clinic, to meet a patient’s needs at one location and allow providers to coordinate care.
What is an Integrated vs. an Integrative Health Clinic?
Let’s clear up a couple of confusing terms. As we’ve already stated, an integrated clinic employs more than one type of medical provider. The term integrated doesn’t specify the type of providers at the clinic. For instance, you could have an integrated clinic employing gynecologists and oncologists. Or an integrated clinic could employ alternative medicine practitioners or a mix of MDs and alternative medicine providers.
An integrative clinic, on the other hand, refers to the type of care a clinic offers. Integrative clinics typically specialize in alternative medicine mixed with evidence-based western medicine. Integrative clinics aim to provide comprehensive care for the whole patient, sometimes called mind, body, and soul care. While integrative clinics sometimes employ different providers, they can also be a solo practice. A family doctor MD who is also trained in acupuncture and offers both services to her clients would have an integrative clinic.
This article looks at the benefits of integrated clinics, which always employ more than one provider. Here are three benefits of choosing an integrated medical clinic for your healthcare needs.
1. A Well Designed Integrated Medical Clinic Gives You a Team of Providers
Many health conditions need treatment from more than one type of provider. An integrated medical clinic allows patients to access comprehensive care in one convenient location. As healthcare systems have grown and providers have become increasingly specialized, it’s become more difficult for them to coordinate with one another on patient care. When a team of healthcare professionals works together every day, they can consult each other in person, in real-time.
Face-to-face collaboration results in better quality care and a lessened chance of redundant treatments or over-medication. Working together gives providers the opportunity to consult and change their treatment plan for a patient based on what other providers have found to be effective. It also supports professional development by allowing providers of different disciplines to learn from one another.
Many integrated clinics focus on a particular care area, like pain management, autoimmune conditions, or women’s health.
Knowing that a team of providers is on your side can provide real peace of mind.
2. Integrated Clinics are Convenient
When you are dealing with a health condition, the last thing you want to do is drive all over town and fill out paperwork at several different clinics. An integrated medical center streamlines the process of care and makes it convenient. You could see your chiropractor, physical therapist, and a nurse practitioner all at the same location. It makes sense, after all, if you can buy car parts and food at the same store, why shouldn’t you be able to see more than one type of provider at one clinic?
The convenience factor has real consequences for patient outcomes. Most people are more likely to complete a treatment plan if it’s easy for them to fit appointments into a busy schedule. People who don’t complete their treatment plans or miss appointments frequently are less likely to make progress in managing their health condition.
3. Integrated Clinics Make Billing a Breeze
At an integrated medical clinic, instead of having to look up several clinics to see if they are on your insurance, you have to look up one. You also will have a single point of contact to call if you have a billing question, and you won’t have to keep track of which bill is from which clinic. Working with one clinic streamlines the whole process, so you have less hassle and can focus on getting well. Integrated clinics can also save you money since provider coordination results in more efficient care.
An Integrated Medical Clinic in Houston
At Vanguard Spine and Sport, we pride ourselves on being Houston’s best centers for pain relief. Our integrated clinics employ providers from complementary disciplines related to musculoskeletal injury treatment and pain management. When you become a patient at Vanguard, you have access to joint injections, chiropractic care, physical therapy, and weight loss and nutrition specialists, all under one roof.
Our patients benefit from a team of professionals coordinating their treatment plans. Complex problems like back pain require multifaceted solutions. A patient may need spinal decompression therapy combined with rehab exercises and injections. That patient can also consult with our nutrition specialists to get help losing excess weight that may exacerbate their back injury—the ability to receive these treatments from one clinic results in better quality care and less hassle.
Many patients see one type of provider for pain and don’t continue trying different treatments when their pain persists because they don’t have time to shop around for providers. The truth is that many conditions require multiple treatments. Back pain can be caused by a disc problem that responds to spinal decompression therapy and injections, but if the patient’s back muscles are weak, they are likely to continue experiencing pain or get reinjured. Physical therapy is necessary to prevent this. Patients who choose an integrated clinic are more likely to get all the types of care they need to recover from their injury fully.
Schedule a consultation today to find out more about how Vanguard’s integrated approach can help you meet your wellness goals.