To The Point

Treating medical issues in non-traditional ways: Mindful meditation

Care for those in need and improving their health status requires us to think differently if we truly want to see meaningful changes. As MissionPoint Health Partners seeks to ensure all aspects of our member’s lives work together toward better health, lower costs, and greater satisfaction, we continuously look for models of care that will result in positive outcomes.

These models are not always viewed as traditional. One such model that we have implemented and tested is Mindful Meditation, which is the practice of cultivating an enhanced awareness of one’s thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and surroundings. This practice has been shown to reduce stress, with the potential to also decrease risks for cardiovascular diseases.

Aiming to counter the harms of stress, MissionPoint Health Partners designed a mindful meditation program based on the S-ART framework, which comprises self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-transcendence. We then analyzed how participants scored their perceived stress levels before and after the program.

Twenty-nine members answered the same four questions in an online survey before the start of classes, then again one month or more after the interventional classes began. Possible answers were Never, Almost Never, Sometimes, Fairly Often, and Often.

Some highlights of the findings included:

  • A 100% decrease in a “never” response for the question “In the last month, how often have you felt unable to control the important things in life
  • A 60% boost in positive responses for the question, “In the last month, how often have you felt confident about your ability to handle your personal problems?”
  • A 38% drop in “almost never” responses and a 100% increase in “often” responses for the question, “In the last month, how often have you felt that things were going your way?”
  • A 100% decrease in “often” responses to the question, “In the last month, how often have you felt difficulties were piling up so high that you could not overcome them?”

These results led us to the conclusion that mindful meditation had a significant, positive impact on respondents’ perceived stress and overall well-being. As we consider the link between chronic stress and the worsening of chronic medical conditions, we can reason this drop in stress should help improve participants’ self-view and health outcomes. We continuously strive to look for models that truly treat individuals with a holistic approach. We believe such models of care truly deliver on value for those we serve.

This To The Point was written by Jordan Asher, MD, MS, Chief Clinical Officer and Chief Innovation Officer. You can read more of Dr. Asher’s thoughts on value-based healthcare and healthcare reform at his blog, The Positive Contrarian.