Naturopathic Care is Cost Effective: Prevention
Naturopathic doctors are experts in prevention. NDs use evidence-based, chronic disease prevention programs to effectively promote behaviors in patients which foster health and reduce risk factors for chronic disease. This reduces the need for repeated, costly and potentially ineffective symptomatic treatment by addressing primary and secondary causes of disease. By decreasing the risk of disease, naturopathic care results in lower health care costs.
An internal Blue Shield study in King County, WA, presented evidence showing that Naturopathic doctors treated 7 of the top 10 most expensive health conditions more cost effectively than MDs or other conventional providers, and estimated that a naturopathic-centered managed care program could cut the costs of chronic and stress related illness by up to 40% and lower the costs of specialist utilization by 30%.
(Henny, GC, Alternative Health Care Consultant, King County Medical Blue Shield (KCMBS), Phase I Final Report: Alternative Healthcare Project, 1995)
Naturopathic Care is Cost Effective: Treatment
Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are specialists in cost-effective, safe, evidence-based natural medicine treatment approaches.
Multiple studies find those patients seen by naturopathic doctors get well and stay well for less cost, due to less expensive treatments, lower technology interventions, and naturopathic medicine’s emphasis on disease prevention, lifestyle modification and health promotion. A few treatment studies include:
Naturopathic Medicine: Health Promotion for Older Adults
Older adults in the United States have opted to take a stand in their health care. The overall burden of chronic disease impact on this population is high and often the ailments are preventable. This increased disease burden leads to a spike in polypharmacy, with two thirds of American patients over 60 taking two drugs, and more than a third taking more than 5 drugs. Drug-drug interactions lead to unintended symptoms and hospitalizations. Many older adults know that the first chronic disease predisposes one to a second ailment, and then a third, in a vicious cycle. Likewise, a first drug predisposes one to a second and then a third. (Qiuping Gu, et al. Prescription Drug Use Continues to Increase: U.S. Prescription Drug Data for 2007-2008. 2010. link, accessed July 21, 2015.)
Naturopathic Doctors and Pain Relief
Chronic and acute pain is one of the most common complaints seen in medical practice. Ineffective pain control and relief has led to 300 billion dollars in lost productivity, including missed days from work.
As a consequence of pain, there has been a galloping increase in the prescription use of opioid pain relievers, leading to unintended consequences, such as increased addiction and drug abuse.
Naturopathic doctors use a variety of safe and effective therapies to relieve pain which in head to head studies show at the least a similar pain relief, with an increase of quality of life, diminished costs, fewer missed work days, and best of all no addiction to prescription medications. Some of the studies include:
Naturopathic Doctors Approaches to Prevention/Treatment of Opioid Addiction
NDs collaborate with other professional organizations to modify national prescribing habits to limit opioid prescription. One example is the new policy brief “Never Only Opioids” Policy Brief: The Imperative for Early Use of Non-Pharmacological, Approaches and Practitioners in Pain Care, developed by the Pain Action Alliance to Implement a National Strategy (PAINS), a consortium made up of MDs, NDs as well as several dozen leaders working in professional societies, patient advocacy organizations, policy groups, consumers, payers and the private sector working together toward a common vision and mission to improve the treatment of pain. Essentially, the concept is to move integrative approaches from last resort when all else fails to earlier, first line treatment. (link, accessed 7/15/2015)