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October 2021

Physician Exec. 1998 Nov-Dec; 24(6): 22-5.

Complementary and alternative medicine. Integrative medicine: business risks and opportunities.

Berndtson K.

American WholeHealth, Inc., USA.

Much of the buzz over integrative medicine is well deserved. The opportunities seem to outweigh the risks, but superior management skills are needed to guide these programs through adolescence into clinical and business maturity. By carefully considering the staffing, team building, compensation methods, marketing, and program evaluation and development issues explored in this article, health care and physician executives should be able to steer between the rocks on their way to integrative medicine decisions that are right for their organizations. Many claim that integrative medicine has the potential to reshape health care delivery in a more patient-centered direction. While this may be true, such programs must prove themselves from financial and clinical operational perspectives in order to achieve this potential. Luminary clinical skills are not enough to guarantee the survival of such programs--a strong clinical base of expertise in alternative therapies is a key success factor. As with any health care venture, there are no substitutes for clinical excellence or sound management.

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