If your hospital does not offer acupuncture yet, what on earth are you waiting for? You may fall behind the leading edge if you haven’t considered adding this safe and effective modality to your mix.
Hospital acupuncture departments are nothing new, even in the West. My former employer, The Permanente Medical Group, Inc., has employed licensed acupuncturists in the Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Northern California since 1980.
Many hospitals have already increased their competitive edge by adding acupuncture to their mix of offerings. It’s something that patients really want, if not demand.
Here are a few examples of U.S. hospitals which employ licensed acupuncturists:
• Abbott Northwestern Hospital of Minneapolis (Minneapolis, MN)1
• Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Memorial Hospital of Chicago (Chicago, IL)2
• Winchester Hospital (Woburn, MA)3
• Duke University Medical Center (Durham, NC)4
• Maryland School of Medicine – Center for Integrative Medicine (Baltimore, MD)5
• Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at University of California San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)6
• Kaiser Permanente, Northern California Region (Oakland, CA)7
• Boston Children’s Hospital (Boston, MA)8
• Mount Sinai Beth Israel – Department of Integrative Medicine (New York, NY)9
The first hospital listed above, Abbott Northwestern, has published a retrospective pilot study on their successful results using acupuncture in the emergency room for pain and anxiety.10
These results are promising. I can envision the expansion of hospital acupuncture beyond its traditional role in pain management. We can offer a lot to those chronic, intractable, severe, or difficult cases.
It’s conceivable (and recommended!) that acupuncture is included in physical medicine & rehabilitation, chemical dependency, neurology, chronic pain, and oncology departments.
In Chinese medicine, the pediatrics, obstetrics, and gynecology departments have an ancient lineage. There are many practical and non-invasive techniques here that could be employed in hospital settings to great advantage.
The bottom line is that if you can use acupuncture instead of more expensive and more invasive procedures, you can save your hospital money and resources.
In this series of articles, I will begin to address concerns that hospital administrators, medical doctors, and “acupuncture champions” might have in establishing departments of acupuncture within their settings.
Topics will include:
• How Western health care providers perceive acupuncture
• Risk management for acupuncture hospital practices
• The evidence base for acupuncture practice in hospitals
I hope you have found this information useful. If you have questions or comments about anything covered (or not covered) in this series, please post a comment below.