Integrative Medicine Services: When Less is More

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If 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 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 and ‘Services’

Above all, prospective patients are looking to solve health problems. Your featured technologies 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.

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

[Related content: 7-Part Series: 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:
  • Your website
  • Talks to your community of health professionals and consumers (experiential marketing)
  • Guest articles/posts/hosting for local media outlets (radio, TV, newspapers)
  • 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 integrative health and medicine business development and strategy consulting firm. FON specializes in custom solutions for growing patient volume, developing programs, and increasing product sales. Our practical business models are driven by innovative marketing, clear messaging, and customer engagement via branded storytelling.

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

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Author: Glenn Sabin
FON’s founder, Glenn Sabin, is a nationally recognized thought leader with a reputation for successfully positioning integrative health organizations for sustainable growth. Combining media, marketing and business development expertise with an extensive professional and personal integrative health and medicine narrative, Glenn is deeply passionate about advancing the field as the new standard of care—accessible to all.
Read Glenn’s story.


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