3X4’s new Functional Medicine Practitioner Spotlight series features interviews with practitioners, consultants and functional medicine thought leaders to explore everything functional medicine practitioners need to know about successfully building, managing, and growing their private practice.
The following is an interview we recently had with Dr. David Jowdy, DC, Founder, Institute for Restorative Health.
What can you tell us about your practice?
DJ: The Institute for Restorative Health was launched in February 2019 in Derby, KS (a suburb of Wichita). We offer a unique combination of Functional Medicine, Biological Medicine and Energy Medicine. The vast majority of our patients have chronic illnesses and travel from all over the country to take part in one of our intensive treatment programs. During their stay we utilize diagnostic testing such as Laboratory analysis, Heart Rate Variability, BioSystems Integration, and voice frequency analysis to root out the cause of their condition. Therapeutic modalities incorporating light, sound and vibration are utilized along with nutritional supplements, herbs and homeopathy to initiate and support the body’s healing capacity. Health coaching, dietary advice and modification of lifestyle factors are also implemented to ensure lasting results once our patients return home.
What surprised you the most when you started your practice?
DJ: I wouldn’t say that this was a surprise, but it was definitely a welcome change from my first experience starting a new practice. The Institute for Restorative Health was started and is owned by four individuals that had worked together already for 5 years, have a common goal in practice and the healing arts, but have different strengths on the business and development side. For me, it was refreshing to know that I didn’t have to handle every aspect of business development in getting the practice off the ground. We each took on the roles that we were best suited to handle and trusted that the others would handle what they were best suited for. In the past, there were administrative roles that I had little to no experience with as the owner and that became a big issue and ultimately led to me closing that clinic and going back to being an employee rather than an owner in the practices I worked for. So, I wasn’t surprised at all how well our team works together, but it definitely surprised me how much smoother things operate with a team approach as opposed to a single owner.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome as you built your practice? How did you overcome it?
DJ: Starting a new practice from the ground up required a significant financial investment as well as time to find a suitable space and order equipment. Everything we currently have in our clinic had to be ordered new and shipped. Some equipment had to be custom made. The build out of our space took longer than we anticipated. Ultimately, a process we had hoped would take us 2-3 months ended up taking 7 months. I would say we overcame this mostly with patience and faith. We had to push back the opening of the clinic a couple of times, which ultimately gave us more time to implement processes and train staff and make sure we had everything we needed to operate once we opened the doors.
What advice would you give to other practitioners considering launching their own practice?
DJ: For me, this practice is my second go around with ownership and I had almost 20 years of practice experience leading up to opening this clinic. The experiences that I have had in other practices was incredibly important in allowing me to see what systems worked well and which ones didn’t. It helped me to understand how I wanted to practice and I was able to carry that over into this new venture. So, my advice would be to learn as much as you can from practitioners that practice similarly to the way you do, or that practice the way you want to. Take the best of what you see and incorporate that into your new practice.
What excites you most about the field of functional medicine?
DJ: The fact that patients are seeking it out more and that more Doctors are interested in learning and applying the functional medicine model. In my early years in practice, I felt like I was always trying to convince patients that healthcare was more than just taking a pill for your condition or symptom. Now, patients seem to understand that more because they’ve been down that road already and it didn’t work for them. They are disillusioned with allopathic system. I was also frustrated with the interactions I would have with Doctors in other disciplines. Getting them on board with natural and functional strategies was a huge challenge. Today, it seems that more Doctors are on board these strategies and I see many stepping away from the allopathic model themselves and learning the Functional Medicine model.
Where do you see your practice 5 years from now?
DJ: We believe that our system of treatment is very unique and we’d like to branch out and spread that knowledge to more people and more doctors. We see opportunities to educate patients through online learning platforms. We would like to expand the size and reach of our clinic by opening a larger facility to accommodate more patients and possibly even more modalities. Science and medicine are expanding rapidly and new innovations will present themselves, so always we keep ourselves open to exploring new and more effective treatments and modalities. Training doctors in our methods, whether that’s by internship or in the classroom, is also a goal. We would love to see more clinics like ours throughout the country helping more and more people recover from chronic illness!
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