Mindfulness-based stress reduction and healthcare utilization in the inner city: preliminary findings. Roth B, Stanley TW.

Altern Ther Health Med 2002 Jan-Feb;8(1):60-2, 64-6

Haight-Ashbury Free Medical Clinic and the Department of Public Health in San Francisco, Calif, USA. Click here to send e-mail

CONTEXT: Research on mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has focused on measuring symptom reduction in middle-class and working-class populations. The present study examined inner-city patients’ healthcare utilization before and after an MBSR intervention. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether completion of an MBSR program resulted in changes in healthcare utilization in an inner-city population. DESIGN: Medical chart review compared the number and diagnoses of health center visits during the year before patients entered the MBSR program with the year following completion of the program. SETTING: The Community Health Center in Meriden, Conn. PATIENTS: The chart review process examined healthcare utilization patterns for 73 patients: 54 who completed the MBSR program in Spanish and 19 who completed the program in English. The focus of this study is a subgroup of 47 patients for whom a complete year of data were available before and after the intervention. INTERVENTION: An 8-week course in MBSR. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The number and diagnoses of patients’ health center visits before and after completion of the MBSR program. RESULTS: A significant decrease in the number of chronic care visits was found among the 47 patients for whom complete data were available. The 36 patients who completed the Spanish courses demonstrated a significant decrease in total medical visits and chronic care visits. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study suggest that MBSR may help contain healthcare costs by decreasing the number of visits made by inner-city patients to their primary care providers after completing the MBSR program.

Categories: Stress