RAND-Kaiser team finds cost-effectiveness and savings via mindfulness
August 8, 2017
by John Weeks, Publisher/Editor of The Integrator Blog News and ReportsIn 2000, David Sobel, MD, MPH, then a physician at Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland, published a short commentary in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) called, “Mind Matters, Money Matters: The Cost Effectiveness of Mind-body Medicine.” In the article, Sobel noted a smattering of clinical studies of effectiveness from mind-body’s “relatively low-cost interventions.” One study directly indicated cost savings. In partial answer to his own rhetorical question about why there had been “little investment in such integration” despite evidence, he suggested that the answer was incomplete data.A 2017 study led by Patricia Herman, ND, PhD, a RAND clinician economist, and recently published in the journal, Spine, is a spike in the coffin of those who doubt Sobel’s thesis. In the report, “Cost-Effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction [MBSR] vs Cognitive Behavioral Therapy [CBT] or Usual Care among Adults with Chronic Low-Back Pain,”Herman and a team, which included Daniel Cherkin, PhD, a top back-pain researcher, reached the following conclusions:
- For low-back pain, CBT is probably cost-effective and MBSR is likely to be cost-saving.
- MBSR reduced overall and back-related healthcare costs when compared with usual care. This was not found for CBT.
- CBT and MBSR each reduced healthcare costs that were not related to back pain.