What We Have Learned About the Implementation of Whole Health in the Veterans Administration

Author: Benjamin Kligler1,2, Maureen Khung1, Tamara Schult1, Alison Whitehead1
1 Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation, Veterans Health Administration, Washington, DC, USA.
2 Department of Family and Community Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA.
Conference/Journal: J Integr Complement Med
Date published: 2022 Nov 23
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1089/jicm.2022.0753. , Word Count: 211

As we have advanced the concept of Whole Health (WH) in the Veterans Administration over the past 10 years, we have had the unique advantage of working in a health care system in which a wide range of WH services-ranging from acupuncture to coaching to yoga and Tai Chi to nutrition classes to peer-facilitated empowerment and skill-building groups-are fully covered by the system as part of standard medical benefits. This has given us the opportunity to evaluate both the process and the outcomes of offering this type of Whole Person care on a system-wide scale. This article will review some of the lessons learned from that ongoing evaluation process in the areas of integration of complementary/integrative health approaches as well as health coaching and peer-led groups, WH education, employee well-being, cost impacts, and whole-system transformation. This is not a systematic review, as we will touch on numerous questions and lessons learned rather than dive deeply into the literature seeking the answer to one narrower question. Hopefully the narrative review approach taken here will stimulate further discussion in the field regarding what we are learning and what we can continue to learn from this large scale innovation.

Keywords: Veterans; Whole Health; complementary/integrative health; health coaching; health services research.

PMID: 36445191 DOI: 10.1089/jicm.2022.0753