Discuss why a modern healthcare system should adopt a biopsychosocial rather than a biomedical approach
The biomedical approach is the dominant model in medicine today and it has guided the thinking of most health practitioners for hundreds of years (Taylor,1986). The biomedical model only acknowledges a biological explanation for illness. Biological explanations are very important but they form an incomplete picture of the causes of illness.
The other causes of illness are acknowledged in the biopsychosocial model. The term was first used by Engel in 1977 in his critique of biomedicine published in Science (Murray, 2004). As the name implies this model uses psychological and social explanations as well as biological ones to provide a full picture of health and illness.
The biomedical model has dominated how health and illness have been viewed for the last century (Whitman, 1999). The biomedical model is reductionist because it only defines illness in terms of biological processes and does not consider the psychological and social factors (Taylor, 1995 cited in Whitman, 1999). Many books in health psychology use the analogy of a mechanic repairing a car. He or she would diagnose a problem and then carry out repairs accordingly.
The biomedical approach looks for the cause of a disorder rather than looking at a range of contributory factors. The biomedical model also does not acknowledge the interaction between the mind and the body. Another hallmark of the biomedical model is its emphasis on illness and its development rather than the promotion of health (Banyard, 1996).
There have been certain changes that have led to dissatisfaction with the biomedical model. Firstly at the turn of the last century the diseases that were the main killers were single cause infections. In 1900 the three most common causes of death were influenza and pneumonia, tuberculosis and gastro-enteritis. All these are caused by micro-organi...