Safeguarding Your License & Avoiding Malpractice: Standard of Care in Integrative Medicine

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Whether you’re practicing conventional medicine or integrative anti-aging or functional medicine, if there’s ever a hint of trouble medical boards will look to see whether you’ve covered the bases of standard of care. You may be using therapies or modalities that are not 100% mainstream. If so, you’ll want to follow these best practices.

Number one: make sure that most physicians wouldn’t consider the therapy to be too risky or dangerous. This can be achieved by establishing that there is a respectable minority. The respectable minority is a defense to a medical malpractice claim based on standard of care. Remember that physicians are allowed to engage in clinical innovation to benefit the patient.

Two: you’ll want to have a reasonably defensible body of evidence that supports your complementary and integrative medical therapies. One of the most efficient ways to gain this support is to get trained in anti-aging integrative or functional medicine, for example, the A4M and the Metabolic Medicine Institute offer a variety of fellowships that can help support your efforts. Fellowships are also offered by many other organizations.

Number three relates to understanding the limitations of your non-mainstream medical treatment. If the complementary therapy isn’t working and the patient needs conventional care—for example, in the case of an aggressive cancer—be sure to offer the conventional approach or refer out for it.

If you follow these three guidelines you’ll go a long way towards safeguarding your practice and your license.


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