New study highlights why doctors choose integrative medicine

A rapidly growing number of doctors are exploring integrative approaches to clinical care as a solution to perceived inabilities to offer better healthcare options to their patients through conventional medical practices. A new study, part of the recently-released Integrative Physician Market Landscape, conducted by Pure Branding provides a consensus on the definition of integrative medicine, and addresses a lack of market intelligence in integrative medicine practice among Medical Doctors (MD) and Doctors of Osteopathy (DO).

Researchers surveyed 1,133 integrative MDs and DOs from 49 states, who identified the top five factors of integrative medicine as:

  • Treating root causes versus symptoms
  • Treating the patient as a whole being
  • Focusing on optimal health versus disease management
  • A personalized approach emphasizing the physician-patient relationship
  • Accounting for patient lifestyle and environment

The 323-page report delves into the intricacies of the integrative physician community, including what drives physicians to transition from conventional to integrative medicine in both their clinical philosophy and therapies. It also covers general trends and behaviors of the physicians themselves.

Some key findings include:

  • Income and quality of life: 67 percent reported quality of life as much better or somewhat better since beginning to practice integrative medicine. Only 19 percent said that their income has increased since transitioning.
  • The gender gap: Similar to conventional medicine, there is a gender pay gap. While over half (56 percent) of integrative doctors are female, they make 24 percent less than their male counterparts.
  • Length of appointment: On average, integrative doctors spend at least twice as much time with their patients as conventional doctors.
  • Timing to transition: Younger doctors are more likely to make a quicker transition to integrative medical practice, a trend that is expected to continue.
  • Adoption of integrative medicine philosophy: Despite a lack of training in integrative medicine in conventional medical schools, most (55 percent) integrative doctors adopted an integrative philosophy post-schooling.
  • Use of dietary supplements: 84 percent of these physicians utilize nutritional protocols to support their patients' health.
  • Significance of spiritual life: 83 percent of integrative doctors feel that the spiritual life of a patient is a critical factor when addressing the patient's health.

The findings in the report are "representative of the integrative medical community as a whole," with a confidence level of 95 percent and the margin of error at +/-2.9 percent, says Yadim Medore, founder and CEO of Pure Branding. The survey did not include insights from chiropractors, naturopathic doctors, homeopathic physicians, or other integrative providers other than MDs and DOs.

"Anyone distressed about the state of healthcare in America need look no further than this inspiring community of integrative physicians for hope," says Medore. "These cutting-edge doctors are at the forefront of a paradigm shift in medicine, that will significantly impact the value chain from healthcare systems and payers to medical schools and suppliers."