Integrative medicine physicians say quality of life is better

Physicians practicing integrative medicine have improved quality of life and spend more time with their patients, according to a new survey.

The study, conducted by Pure Branding, a market research company, looked at why doctors leave conventional practices for integrative medicine, which pairs standard treatments with complementary therapies to care for a patient’s mind, body and spirit. The study included 1,133 integrative medical doctors and doctors of osteopathy from 49 states.

As more doctors report burnout, which has increased by 25% in just four years, a rapidly growing number of doctors are exploring integrative approaches to clinical care. The study identified five factors that define integrative medicine:

  1. Treating root causes versus symptoms
  2. Treating the patient as a whole being
  3.  Focusing on optimal health versus disease management
  4. Taking a personalized approach emphasizing the physician-patient relationship
  5. Accounting for patient lifestyle and environment

“These ... 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,” said Yadim Medore, founder and CEO of Pure Branding.

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Some of the findings from the survey included:

  • 67% of doctors surveyed reported quality of life as "much better" or "somewhat better" since beginning to practice integrative medicine.
  • Income was not a factor in satisfaction, as only 19% said their income increased.
  • Similar to conventional medicine, there is a gender pay gap. While 56% of integrative physicians are female, they make 24% less than their male peers.
  • On average, these doctors spend at least twice as much time with the patients. That's important since many doctors feel pressed for time due to overwork, increased administrative burdens and other similar issues that contribute to widespread burnout.
  • Younger doctors are more likely to make a quicker transition to integrative medical practice.
  • 84% of physicians use nutritional protocols to support their patients’ health.
  • 83% of integrative physicians feel that the spiritual life of a patient is a critical factor when addressing health.

Integrative medicine