Specialization is sometimes frowned upon in functional medicine, as a criticism of the conventional medical model. After some time in practice, this is one of a handful of dictums I’ve come not to agree with. Sure, the theory of a holistic model that is an integration of all the body systems sounds great. Who wouldn’t agree with that? However, in practice one is confronted with a dichotomous choice between being a generalist (doing a little in all areas) or a specialist (going deep into one area).
There is nothing wrong with either. But in today’s market place the realm of a health generalist has become increasingly competitive. There are many different practitioners offering council on general health principles. As such health coaches, nutritionist, personal trainers or a good book or online program might be able to offer the same information at a better cost than what you can get in the office of an NP, DC, MD, DO, etc.
A good solution here could be an integration of a health generalist (health coach) into a clinic that specializes in scope and credential (NP specializing in rheumatic conditions). What if you are a health coach or nutritionist? You can likely go either way, but I would also be cautious with specialization. This can be done, yes. But, I have also seen some health coaches who were touting themselves more like some type of doctor (blood testing, stool testing, ‘diagnosing’, etc.) and that, in my opinion, is not a good idea for reasons I will not expand upon here.
Another reason to specialize is that it makes many things in your office more efficient, cost-effect, profitable and simplified; marketing, office systems, staff training, patient presentation, treatment plan. Also, it takes time to develop clinical skills, which is much more difficult to do if you are treating only a few cases of many different conditions. Rather than treating many cases of a narrower variety of conditions.
There is no right or wrong here, these are just a few thoughts to consider.
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