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J Altern Complement Med. 2005;11 Suppl 1:S3-6.

Challenges and opportunities in achieving healing.

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Samueli Institute, Corona del Mar, CA, USA.


The current health care system in the United States must shift from a primary focus on acute care and cure to also emphasize maintenance of function and the relief of suffering that derives from the ailments associated with chronic disease and illness. To achieve this goal, the individual components of the health care equation must all respond and work in concert. These components include the provider, the venue, the patient, the community, our society, and the fiscal realities of paying for care. However, the barrier for change stems from the marked heterogeneity that exists in the definition of each of these individual components. Thus, the fundamental question is, can our current and future medical care system respond to the imperative of focusing on healing with a particular emphasis on chronic diseases? A solution is the provision of individualized care in a mindful practice and the purposeful cultivation of a healing relationship suffused with compassion and empathy in the therapeutic alliances between patient, provider, and advocates.

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