Healthcare professional resource featuring the most recent developments in Integrative Healthcare policy, research, education and news, courtesy of John Weeks and the Integrator Blog on Business, March 2012 edition

Global Advances in Health and Medicine, launched by veteran team, to focus on case reports  

“Improving Healthcare Outcomes One Case at a Time.” So runs the title of the founding column from David Riley, MD, editor-in-chief of the new publishing venture entitled Global Advances in Health and Medicine. The February 10, 2012 introduction of the international journal adds that the editors “believe that high quality, professional case reports will inform the design of clinical trials, improve the quality of scientific information, and enhance healthcare delivery.” (See announcement here.)

Riley, a long-time leader in integrative medicine, is the former editor of Explore and of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. Two members of his former editorial teams, Jason Hao, DOM, and Michele Mittelman, RN, MPH, are part of the new international group, as is Greg Plotnikoff, MD, MTS, FACP. At the top of the list in the Information for Authors of types of content that will be accepted for publication are “case reports, case series and case letters.” The release notes that GAHM, LLC, the publisher, “building on the disruptive technologies featured in the journal,” plans to eventually offer other publishing and broadcasting products, conference and collaboration services and “technology transfer and commercialization systems.” The GAHM Media Kit lays out how the team plans to reach over 90,000 practitioners globally. The MD/DO/PhD portion is 40% of the anticipated audience.

Comment: Riley, credited by many for coining the phrase “integrative medicine,” is a veteran’s veteran in this field. His work has included consulting on the minutiae of the Alternative Link coding system to helping establish an integrative center in Dubai. I’ve had a chance to speak informally with Riley and Mittelman about this project and am intrigued with the ways they see technology adding power to case reports. It is about time someone started a journal that has as its central focus what actually takes place in integrative clinical practice. More on this venture as it evolves.    


The Joint … a chiropractic place: Massage Envy’s franchise model developed to offer low-cost adjustments 

After selling the hugely successful Massage Envy firm in 2010, founder John Leonesio hit on the idea of rolling out a similar business model for chiropractic. He has done so with The Joint … the chiropractic place. The Joint members pay $49/month for which they can receive 4 chiropractic treatments. If members want additional visits, they pay $19 apiece. Non-members who walk-in off the street in this no-appointments environment pay $29 for an adjustment. An article in Arizona Business and Money from Leonesio’s home state reports that 146 franchises have already been awarded. These are open or under development in 17 states. Two St. Louis-based owners of Massage Envy franchises recently purchased rights as regional directors for The Joint for $145,000, according to this article

Comment: There appears to be a good deal of excess capacity in all of the licensed “CAM” professions. The appearance of program that takes advantage of the willingness of practitioners to work for less is not surprising. What dreams are some aspiring CAMpreneurs now having about how to use acupuncturists or naturopathic doctors in a similar model? 


An early peer-reviewed publication in this space, Alternative Medicine Review, faces challenges 

A personal appeal for subscription arrived recently from environmental medicine author-educator Walter Crinnion, ND to help save Alternative Medicine Review: A Journal of Clinical Therapeutics. The journal was founded by and has continuously been owned by Al and Kelly Czap, founders of Thorne Research. When they sold the firm two years ago, the Czaps held onto the publication and have been publishing it on their own, reportedly at a loss, since. The magazine was widely distributed for free to many practitioners. The present model seeks to move the publication to a subscription basis at $40/year. According to Crinnion’s note, the Czaps were far short of the 2000 subscribers they were targeting by early March. Crinnion framed the potential termination of publication as “a huge loss” for the naturopathic profession. 

Comment: Al Czap has always ranked among the more impetuous and influential characters in professional line supplement manufacturing for the evolving fields of alternative, naturopathic and integrative medicine. Al Czap chose the company name in the early 1980s as he wished to be a thorne in the side of conventional treatment. If the business was to be a thorne, then this journal, which grew up with Thorne, was perhaps the point of the thorne. Alternative Medicine gained PubMed searchable status early with an editorial mix led by NDs and including MDs, chiropractors and others. Sun-setting is an honorable end-point. Perhaps the journal’s time has come.