Optimizing delivery to meet demand for integrative medicine services in an academic hospital setting: A pilot study

Sairey M. Vitek, Anjali Bhagra, Emma E. Erickson, Susanne M. Cutshall, Stephanie M. Slack, Nancy J. Rodgers, Jessica M. Smidt, Mary J. Jordan, Brent A. Bauer, Tony Y. Chon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Context: A rapidly growing body of evidence shows the positive benefits of integrative medicine (IM) services for patients in hospital-based settings. IM therapies, such as acupuncture, massage, meditation and relaxation, and animal-assisted therapy, reduce symptom burden of pain, anxiety, and stress and increase sense of well-being and satisfaction in hospitalized patients. Current challenges facing hospitals are to move beyond proof-of-concept studies and to provide hospital-based IM therapies. Objective: The aim of our quality improvement project was to develop, implement, and evaluate a feasible, scalable, hospital-based “best practice” model for increasing demand for IM services and optimizing their delivery. Design: A multidisciplinary team convened to use quality improvement tools to outline a process for providing IM services. Setting: A large academic medical center in the Midwestern United States. Participants: IM leadership staff, IM providers, nurses, hospital team members, support staff, and quality improvement staff. Interventions: After determining baseline levels of demand and service delivery, we sought to (1) increase nursing staff awareness of available IM services; (2) improve communication between IM providers and nurses; and (3) reinforce communication at the level of nurse supervisors, patients, and family members. Main Outcome Measures: We recorded the numbers and types of IM services ordered at baseline and postimplementation and determined the new delivery rate of requested services. Results: We noted an increase in the number of IM orders, percentage of delivered IM services, and percentage of patients who reported that IM services improved their hospital stay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)340-343
Number of pages4
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021


  • Acupuncture
  • Animal-assisted therapy
  • Inpatient integrative medicine
  • Massage
  • Meditation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analysis
  • General Nursing
  • Chiropractics
  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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