The “whole patient” approach

Today how you feel is increasingly connected to considering everything about you. The days of treating patients solely through prescriptions and procedures are being replaced by the “whole patient” approach in patient care and getting to know your Doctor. Increasingly medical professionals are focusing on including everything about the patient to deliver a more comprehensive and sustainable approach to improve health and well being.

According to the National Institutes of Health, integrative medicine – an approach to care that puts the patient at the center and addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences that affect a person’s health – is being used more and more in the health care field, with some form of it is practiced by nearly 50 percent of the population in the United States.

By considering factors like personal patient qualities, behavior attributes, and dietary needs, doctors can address the physical, mental and spiritual needs of the person by creating a health care plan that blends conventional medicine with evidence-based, natural, less invasive therapies.

At Heritage Victor Valley Medical Group, providers are focusing more and more on adjunctive therapies to health and wellness like socialization groups, fitness classes and focusing on the medicinal benefits of proper nutrition.

“Our whole approach to patient care is changing,” said Dr. Kenny Grier, an HVVMG provider. “I think a lot of patients may be used to coming in and having their care be provided in a cookie-cutter manner.

“But I think when we take a look at the patient as an individual, and we see what their whole situation is, they’re excited to see that we’re trying to work with them and that’s helping us build trust and making them feel comfortable.”

The Heritage Medical Model prioritizes treating the “whole patient,” rather than a singular disease or ailment, to provide a fuller, long-lasting health care experience.

“In the past eight years, HVVMG has significantly expanded its adjunctive therapies through additional senior programs, its development of our fitness program and exercise classes, health education classes, and an on-site nutritionist,” said Donna Hague, a licensed clinical social worker at HVVMG.

Hague, who helped create the Healing Hearts Bereavement Support Group to help those coping with a loss, sees the benefits of those adjunctive therapies firsthand, whether it’s in the referral of someone struggling with diabetes to a health education class where they can engage and learn with others working through the same issues or how the Coffee Club provides an outlet of socialization and engagement for those feeling lonely.

“When we feel isolated, alone and disconnected then we are at much higher risk for major depression, suicidal thoughts, and increased anxiety,” Hague said. “When we have positive support systems and socialize, it’s then we tend to feel connected to others, have a sense of purpose and feel part of something outside of ourselves.”

– Donna Hague, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Getting to know the patient fully, and identifying their needs beyond just the physical symptoms, has become an increasingly important part of the Heritage Medical Model, which strives to help patients and the community live their best lives possible.





Heritage Victor Valley Medical Group (HVVMG) offers its members award-winning coordinated care with a speedy referral system. HVVMG has 45 primary care physicians and a panel of two hundred medical specialists across Southern California’s High Desert, as well as the mountain communities. HVVMG has a locally based members service team and is dedicated to a spirit of excellence. HVVMG is part of the Heritage Provider Network.