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December 20, 2016

The Evolving Taxonomy of Health in Older Persons

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • 2Department of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
JAMA. 2016;316(23):2487-2488. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.16432

Clinicians who care for older persons have long been frustrated by the limitations of the prevalent disease–oriented approach (ie, the medical model) as a taxonomy for defining health, disease, and payment for clinical care.1 The medical model tends to focus on individual organ systems, but is inadequate to characterize persons with the combination of multiple diseases, limitations of function, and cognitive and psychosocial problems. For instance, geriatric syndromes commonly occur in older persons but do not fit the classic disease-oriented medical model.