Bundle medicine with care

October 31, 2009

I would like to thank IBJ for highlighting the role of interdisciplinary (“bundled”) medicine in the Oct. 19 article, “Huddling on Health Care.” I agree that multi-specialty practices are an effective way to provide individualized care and treat complex conditions.

It is important, however, to recognize that not all specialty centers are created equal. Achieving quality patient care requires that multi-specialty practices treat patients as individuals and not within pre-prescribed or packaged treatment plans. The creation of a unique plan of care—which could include any combination of services available within a practice—by an expert physician is the only true determinant of cost-effectiveness and ensuring the highest-quality outcomes in specialty medicine.

The multi-specialty approach to patient care was available back in the 1990s in the areas of mental health, wound care, cardiac rehab and bariatric medicine in Indianapolis. In fact, I’ve had great success in patient outcomes in my own multi-disciplinary practice where physician care, interventional pain procedures, physical therapy and psychology have been offered under one roof for nearly 20 years. These highly specialized practices should not be considered as a last resort after the “failure” of other physicians to treat a condition, but rather as an expert referral source to primary-care physicians to the most expert care for their patients—in the most efficient and timely manner.

Patients should research each practice to ensure that all of the health care providers are qualified, certified and have prior clinical experience in the specialty area. They should also make sure the clinicians are working together to provide holistic assessments, diagnoses and treatments.


Dr. Ed Kowlowitz

Medical director and founder
Center for Pain Management

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