With an abundance of integrative health practitioners in the marketplace it can be challenging to find a great provider that fits your preferences. There are many elements to consider when seeking an integrative health practitioner. This article offers some great insight about what to look for in a provider, provider warning signs, and where to find a provider.
Good and Great Practitioners
One of the most important aspects in choosing a provider is ensuring you find a great provider, not just a good provider. Good providers can be helpful but are not in the same league as a great provider. A good provider will be able to initiate your health journey but may get stuck along the way whether it be because of time constraints, over-reliance on certain modalities, or lack of knowledge.
The difference between a good provider and a great provider is that great providers listen to you and really get you and your health problems. Great providers have an in depth understanding of how to pull from diverse resources and tools to best meet your needs. They are able to customize a treatment plan and recommendations specific to your health needs. Great providers have learned through practice the methods and treatments that consistently bring about results. Perhaps most important, when prompted with a challenging case, he or she is not afraid to go outside of the box and try new treatments and ask for help from a network of providers that he/she has spent years building. Great practitioners are intuitive and look at the body holistically; as a system in which all parts interact. These practitioners work towards progress and the ultimate goal of making you well.
Some good practitioners may accept health insurance, but many integrative treatments require more time and out-of-the-box thinking than is easily reimbursed by most insurance plans. Many great practitioners have a business model that focuses on spending more time with the patient; which equals out to seeing less patients per day and needing a higher reimbursement per patient. Great health practitioners are often not cheap, but they are well worth the money. Your health is worth the investment of a great health practitioner.
What to Look For in a Great Health Practitioner
Education: You want a practitioner who has certifications outside of their degree. Someone who is educated with multiple specialties and certifications will be better equipped with the knowledge to help you. Look for credentialing and experience.
Versatility: When seeking out a great health practitioner you want someone who is well versed in the entire body. It will be difficult for someone who only specializes in thyroid issues to manage the rest of your issues seeing as all systems work together. Keep the specialists on board as needed, but it’s good to have a provider who can see the big picture.
Food Knowledge: A great practitioner has an extensive understanding about the impact food has on our bodies. They will be able to educate you appropriately about what food is best for your body.
Orders Labs: You want a practitioner who makes use of laboratory tests to evaluate issues. A great practitioner will also read and advise about laboratory results.
Experienced: Experience is certainly an attractive professional quality. Experienced practitioners have seen patterns and gained knowledge through treating patients. A great practitioner will understand, through experience that every problem is the result of a root cause.
Detail Oriented: A great practitioner recognizes the importance of details. He/she focuses on one area at a time; hormones, intestinal, diet etc.
Time: A great practitioner will have time and will spend time with you. They will ask you questions and provide lengthy explanations to ensure you understand what is going on with your body.
What to Ask When Setting Up Your Appointment?
What specializations or certifications does this practitioner hold?
How much time will the practitioner have to spend with me?
Does this practitioner utilize laboratory testing?
What are typical costs associated with the visit? (You always want to be prepared prior to your visit)
All of this information should be readily available on a web site or by phone call.
Red Flags or Reasons to Find Another Practitioner:
– Your provider does not take the time to listen to you or answer your questions.
– Your practitioner runs all kind of different tests, never repeating any.
– Your practitioner keeps trying to same protocols, even though they have been unsuccessful.
– Your practitioner is not straightforward about anticipated costs and available services
Where Can I Find a Provider
The following websites serve as great resources to assist you in finding an integrative health practitioner in your locality: Find a Functional Medicine Practitioner, ABIHM Certified Integrative Holistic Physicians, University of Arizona Integrative Medicine Fellowship
Don’t Give Up
Be patient and do your research. Great providers can be difficult to find. Given this, you will want a local practitioner and may also benefit from connecting with a virtual (telephone, video conference, and/ or online) practitioner. The journey to great health can be challenging and frustrating. It is difficult to find great providers, but once you do your health will take leaps of progress.