Re: InspireHealth

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 54, No. 2, March 2012, Page 64 Letters

I have had the privilege of experiencing InspireHealth’s offerings in several contexts: as a medical student in 2006, as a family medicine resident in 2009, and as a family physician guest at the 2-day Life Program in September 2010.

InspireHealth’s MSP-funded offerings are overwhelmingly evidence-based. Dr Oppel [Cash-strapped BC government has money to burn BCMJ 2011;53:547] made no mention of InspireHealth’s Evidence-Based Cancer Prevention Guide, which provides lay language summaries for patients of scientific literature in cancer prevention. 

Furthermore, InspireHealth employs a PhD librarian (formerly of the BC Cancer Agency) who reviews the literature weekly and contributes pertinent findings from new studies to the regularly published patient newsletter.

Beyond evidence, what stands out about InspireHealth’s approach is their commitment to patient empowerment. I agree with Dr Oppel that helping to provide patients with a sense of “hope and control” is paramount to good care, and this is where InspireHealth excels. 

Physicians at InspireHealth support patients through their conventional treatments while simultaneously offering education about evidence-based prevention and lifestyle approaches. Patients are en­couraged to make personal, educated choices about what interventions to pursue. Access to non-MSP-insured “complementary and alternative” modalities is provided within the same facility. 

The literature indicates more than 12% of Canadians pursue “complementary and alternative medicine”[1] while 85% with advanced cancer use CAM.[2] InspireHealth endeav­ors to validate patients’ values and preferences in achieving wellness, and honors their efforts in this regard. The care offered at InspireHealth defines whole-person, patient-centred medicine.

We as providers must remember that while evidence-based care remains a priority, the weight of research funding is industry-based. It is our job to listen, to offer support, and to help our patients negotiate cost/benefit and harm analysis when considering interventions.

The BC government has demonstrated interest in supporting prevention-based, patient-centred models of chronic disease care by allocating funding for InspireHealth’s expansion. This is a boon to the citizens of BC, and a step forward in evolving our health care system toward innovative models of health care delivery. 
—Devon Christie, MD 


1. Metcalfe A, Williams J, McChesney J, et al. Use of complementary and alternative medicine by those with a chronic disease and the general population: Results of a national population based survey. BMC Complement Altern Med 2010;10:58.
2. Trinkaus M, Burman D, Barmala N, et al. Spirituality and use of complementary therapies for cure in advanced cancer. Psychooncology 2011;20:746-754.

Devon Christie, MD,. Re: InspireHealth. BCMJ, Vol. 54, No. 2, March, 2012, Page(s) 64 - Letters.

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