Integral Healthcare Management

Integral Life Article, Cognitive, Health & Wellness, Healthcare, Journal of Integral Theory & Practice, Perspectives 4 Comments

Integral Healthcare Management, an application of Integral Theory to the management of healthcare organizations, is a comprehensive and inclusive way of providing healthcare. In this article I explain the “all-quadrant” aspect of Integral Theory in the context of two common healthcare management challenges: operating a hospital in accord with national accreditation standards and complying with modern notions of “patient safety.” The application of Integral Theory to healthcare management will help organizations maintain their focus on exterior forces and influences while acknowledging the oft-overlooked interiors. I conclude that Integral Theory can strike a balance between an individual and collective focus, offer a more humane approach in that it forces a deep examination of quality and performance, and be more cost effective.

In Part 2 I outline three core aspects of Integral Theory: “all-quadrants,” “all-levels,” and “all-lines.” Citing examples from common healthcare management activities such as compliance, patient safety, executive recruitment and selection, organizational development, team-building, mergers and acquisitions, and quality management, I suggest the broad applicability of Integral Healthcare Management as a means of improving quality of care, cost-effectiveness, employee and provider satisfaction, regulatory compliance, and patient safety. I then outline some historic obstacles to the application of Integral Theory to healthcare management and suggest strategies to overcome such obstacles.

You must log in to your Integral Life membership account in order to access this Journal article.

THOMAS G. GODDARD, J.D., Ph.D., is Senior Associate on the Organizational Change Team at Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., one of the world’s largest and most prestigious management technology consulting firms. He is a founding member of Integral Institute and Director of the Integral Healthcare Center.

He has served as President and CEO of Integral Healthcare Solutions; as the Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of URAC (one of the “big 3” healthcare organization accrediting bodies in the United States); Vice President and General Counsel of NYL Care Health Plans of the Mid-Atlantic; Counsel for Government and Media Relations for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners; President and CEO of the Goddard Public Affairs Corporation; and Adjunct professor in the School of Management of George Mason University. His current consulting focuses on providing integral management consulting and research services to public and private organizations, with an emphasis on quality improvement in government agencies and healthcare organizations.

Notable Replies

  1. I’m curious about my own reaction to the word “healthcare” and if this is an “integral” concern or not.

    I think we have built a system that would be more aptly called a “disease and injury management” system rather than a “caring for your health” system.
    There have been attempts in the past to try and make it more of a “Health and Wellness” system or add elements of preventative care - but essentially it all comes down to what insurance will pay for and how quickly without challenging the procedure’s necessity.
    Medical Doctors are pretty restricted in how much “common sense” or anecdotal advice they can give, or advice that does not have tested clinical trials to back it up.
    A friend of mine is a Doctor and he’s torn between going more “alternative” and risking the wrath of the Healthcare establishment, or actually helping people prevent problems through methods that do not have the absolute strict support of the industry.

  2. I’m very optimistic about healthcare evolving because it has to, to transcend and include it’s core, while taking the next half step. I am in the prototype stage, the bottom of the U in Theory U, mixing and melding models, from AQAL, the lower right engaging six sigma, lean, TRIZ, and the upper left, a noble purpose, I’ve extracted the best of family medicine, into the wave of value based reimbursement (in contra-distinction from “fee for service”), to community paramedicine,elevating paramedics in collaboration with physicians via telehealth (lower left). As AI and technology bring the Alexandria library and randomized control trials medical evidence to our fingertips (upper right), I see a hybrid healer emerging, art and science.
    We are a smart species. Those of us who tweak the tools in the service of healing, are beyond survivalist. We are thrivers. And that’s the acorn of an idea, that keeps me hopeful.
    I’m an integral physician…no…just integral.
    R Joe Ybarra MD

  3. We are introducing the preventative theories and practices of Tradional Chinese Medicine into the 2nd largest hospital system in Arizona this December. I’ll provide a follow up to this thread to let you know how it’s going after a few months. To be determined.

Continue the discussion at

1 more reply