Care Marketing Matters, Summer 1999
Consumer interest in holistic medicine has soared in
the last few years.
An ever-growing body of evidence demonstrates
that many “alternative” therapies—such as
mind/body programs, acupuncture, massage, and
chiropractic services—produce desirable health
outcomes for a host of medical conditions. Yet, as we approach the year 2000, most physicians still
don’t offer patients alternative therapies as one of
their care options.
We see this as a classical
As usual, the question is how do we reach the
right people with the right message.
To get the answer, we interviewed
representatives from 9 of the 15 Boston-based health
care institutions with sizable alternative or mind/body
health care practices.
Using an interview guide with over 30 questions,
we held 30-45 minute long conversations with individuals
representing 5 hospitals; 3 independent health care
practices; and 1 not-for-profit cancer support
gave all respondents the opportunity to review and
correct the interview notes before publishing this
Our goal: to get a snapshot of how Boston-based
health care organizations are marketing mind/body and
alternative health care services and learn from them
what’s worked and what’s gotten in the way.
Here’s what we found:
Perhaps for these reasons, we learned that
mind/body programs are among the “alternative”
therapies most likely to qualify for reimbursement here
in the Boston area.
Despite these attributes, most of the respondents
that we interviewed talked more about
provider-administered physical therapies—such as
massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic therapies—than
they did about mind-body self-care techniques.
powers, yet body towers
One of the most successfully documented
areas of “alternative” therapy in western
peer-reviewed medical journals is mind/body medicine.
These programs are relatively inexpensive to
launch—since they don’t require large capital
investments—and relatively cost-effective, especially
in the long run, because they emphasize self-care
programs in the Greater Boston area started with one
individual’s experience with mind/body therapy.
Once converted to its value, this individual
became a ready champion for its progress and launched a
program to make these services available to others.