There are several definitions of the Integrative Medicine model which include:
a) A healthcare model that combines treatments from Conventional healthcare and Alternative / Traditional Medicine for which there is some high-quality evidence of safety and effectiveness
b) Focuses on person-centred (holistic care) and uses all appropriate therapeutic approaches
c) Focuses on preventative maintenance of health by paying attention to all relative components of lifestyle
Every person desires good health. Health, according to WHO is not merely the absence of any disease or infirmity but a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. There is no single medical system that is perfect and each has its own merits and weaknesses; it is wrong to assume that any specific medical system, be it conventional or complementary therapies such as, Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine is correct with the exception of conventional emergency medicine. Integrative medicine is based on this concept and it incorporates evidenced-based alternative medicine alongside conventional methods for treatment and diagnosis.
The use of complementary and alternative medicine has gained popularity in the last few years. An integrative healthcare service combines the strength of conventional and complementary medicine therapies in a way that provides the maximum benefits for the consumer. As each individual is different, the best way to provide holistic treatment would be to offer patient-centred evidence- based healthcare services combining the benefits of alternative and complementary medicine.
If you want to set up a successful Integrative Medicine practice, then you should consider the following:
1. Targeted Therapy
A revolution is underway in healthcare, where the importance of lifestyle, diet, emotional and physical factors are important complementary medicine components in formulating effective therapeutic protocols.
The key to any effective Integrative Medicine treatment is ‘targeted therapy’ using a biological rationale and a predefined mechanism of action from Conventional and Alternative Medicine systems. This treatment protocol involves the strategic integration of therapies, pharmaceuticals, and supplements.
2. Establish a unique brand identity that defines your business culture or values
Your brand name and the values are potent tools that build credibility with patients. You should create a unique or modern brand identity that defines the culture or values of your medical practice. People prefer to connect with established brand or reputed organisations that deliver quality healthcare services at a competitive price.
3. Increase patient volume and business
The Complementary Medicine industry continues to flourish which is indicative of current dissatisfaction with the conventional healthcare models. The anticipated growth is $4.6 billion in 2017-18 from the $3.5 billion in 2014. Therefore, it follows that Integrative Medicine practice will flourish with the correct marketing and the inclusion of a supporting delivery framework which underpins best clinical practice.
4. Use highly effective marketing strategies
With the increasing popularity of digital marketing, your centre should have a website with detailed information and appropriate marketing content that will enable people to make well- informed decisions. The leveraging expertise of experienced digital marketers will streamline promotion of your brand and build credibility among patients. It is essential that you know what you are delivering, why you are delivering the product and have systems to measure the outcomes.
5. Build a sustainable service delivery model
Three key factors are important in creating a thriving Integrative Medicine centre. These are:
A) An Effective Service Delivery Model
B) A Framework of Delivery that underpins best practice and is cost effective for the consumer
C) A Management strategy for successful implementation of the model