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Integrative Medicine Clinical Services: When Less is More

Guest Post Courtesy Glenn Sabin, FON Consulting
less-is-more-791109_1280If you’re operating a small integrative or functional medicine clinic offering a substantial menu of services, you may inadvertently be undermining your capacity for meaningful engagement with existing and prospective clients (aka patients).

In my recent post Go Deep, Then Wide: Building Integrative Health Practices, I posited that maximizing (business) growth by laser-focusing attention and keeping distractions at bay is essential. This is specifically true for clinical services and patient engagement. Let me explain.

Focus on Solutions, Not Tools

Above all, prospective patients are looking to solve health problems. Your featuredtechnologies and therapies are secondary considerations and, if over-emphasized, capable of overwhelming some patients to the point of inaction. Basically, this is akin to one reading from a large menu and struggling to know what to order. Therefore, it’s vital to secure patient buy-in first through an “emotional”, human connection with an easy to grasp problem/solution narrative.

Be the Subject Matter Expert

Be well-known for something specific (your niche), rather than attempting to establish subject and thought leadership expertise across too many conditions and approaches. To clearly differentiate yourself and get traction, take ownership of one or two specific conditions for which you have special passion, expertise and evidence of stellar patient outcomes.

Become ‘The’ Go-To Provider

Today’s well-established integrative and functional medicine practitioners founded their bona fides through years of providing trusted thought leadership: writing, speaking, and, in cases of academic-based physicians, research.

Over time they shared significant subject matter expertise with both health professionals and consumers alike and, chances are, they’re still doing so. You can bet these practitioners went deep before going wide to develop their substantial patient followings across multiple pathologies: i.e., pain, diabetes and obesity.

Establish yourself as a go-to provider for a specific condition(s) by following these key recommendations:

[Related content: Becoming an Integrative Medicine Thought Leader]

    • Choose one subject (condition) of expertise
      Stay mindful of how treatment for that particular condition is covered by insurance, Medicare or direct pay. After all, you’re running a business and need to make a living.
    • Develop a content ‘creation’ strategy
      Based on your chosen subject, start listing content ideas on which to create a series of blog posts and short explainer videos, including both consumer and medical professional versions.
    • Develop a content ‘distribution’ strategy
      Creating quality content isn’t enough. You must also widely distribute your content and expertise to your target audience of existing and prospective patients. Here are a few possibilities:
    1. Guest Post
    2. Your website
    3. s (blog websites; local health organizations)
    4. Talks to your community of health professionals and consumers (experiential marketing).
    5. Guest articles/posts/hosting for local media outlets (radio, TV, newspapers)
    6. Your newsletter



Three takeaways on why less can be more when delivering integrative health clinical services:

    1. Patients primarily focus on their own medical issues, challenges and solutions. Your actual services and technologies are of secondary importance.
    2. To effectively establish thought leadership, concentrate on one or two areas for which you have the most passion, experience and success.
    3. Go deep first and then wide to become the go-to integrative or functional medicine ‘expert’ with the stellar reputation who’s referred by physicians and sought by media outlets. You’ll earn trust and eventually become an in-demand provider across multiple conditions.

About FON


FON is a leading business development and consulting firm delivering customized solutions to integrative health organizations—focused on growing patient volume, program and product sales—driven by innovative marketing, messaging and branded storytelling, all rooted in fiscally viable business models that work.

Contact us today to schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss your career strategy or business development needs.

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