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doTERRA, the Essential Oil Titan, Launches Healthcare System

By Erik Goldman, Editor

doTERRA, one of the world's leading marketers of botanical essential oils for healthcare uses, is launching a healthcare system.DoTerra Healthcare

Guided by a bold vision of transforming American healthcare, the company is planning a nationwide network of integrative medical clinics wholly owned and overseen by doTERRA, that would operate on a membership or concierge-style model, in which "patients pay a monthly membership fee that covers the cost fo their clinical care." These clinics will be completely insurance-free, according to the company's website.

Though the plan is still in an early stage, doTERRA says the company is looking for teams "of dedicated doctors (MDs and DOs), nutritionists, essential oil experts, and wellness coaches" who will "ensure that patients receive the highest levels of care." Those patient will have 24/7 access to their practitioners via a telemedicine practice, and "more face time when they meet with their doctors in person."

The proposed medical services include: complete primary care, urgent care, wellness coaching, nutrition counseling, essential oil therapies, and genome testing.

The Utah-based company is appealing to the public's clear and persistent frustration with mainstream care delivery, by promising comprehensive services that integrate conventional allopathic care with holistic alternatives, including of course use of essential oils as adjunctive therapies. They're simultaneously tapping practitioner desire for a more humane, less-abusive, and more fiscally healthy mode of practice.

A Ready-Made Market

doTERRA has over 400 full-time employees, and claims upward of 3 million distributors (which the company refers to as "wellness advocates") its multi-level marketing system. That's a sizeable ready-made market of individuals who've self-selected for interest in botanical medicine, and other non-pharm alternatives.

Doterra oilsA survey conducted by the company suggests that 85% of Americans want integrative solutions, including essential oils, from their medical practitioners, and 85% would be willing to join a membership-style practice that offers these alternatives. Yet currently, only 15% of respondents have doctors who are providing the sort of care they seek.

According to the company's site, nearly 50,000 people have already pre-registered to join doTERRA Healthcare.

The company has not released any specifics about the membership costs, the fiscal relationships between clinics and the company's administrators, or how exactly the doTERRA clinics will deliver high-quality primary care imore effectively than mainstream clinics. doTERRA declined Holistic Primary Care's request for an interview at this point. A company spokeswoman stated that it is too soon to reveal details, but that the full plan will be revealed later this summer.

The flagship clinic will be located in Pleasant Grove, UT, to serve doTERRA's on-site employees, followed by a roll-out of clinics across the US later this year.

The effort is being led by Brannick Riggs, MD, a family physician who trained in integrative medicine at the University of Arizona, and David Hill, DC, a chiropractor with broad interests in holistic modalities. Both have extensive experience with essential oils, and with doTERRA as a company.

If doTERRA is able to develop an effective and replicable practice model, it is likely to appeal to many holistic and functional medicine physicians who currently struggle with fiscal and practice development issues.

In it's new initiative, doTERRA is certainly making bold promises. But that should not be surprising. The company--founded in 2008 by former employees of Young Living, another essential oil MLM--has been known for its envelope-pushing claims. On occasion, that's drawn ire from regulators.  In 2014, doTERRA received warning letters from the FDA ordering the company to cease promoting essential oils as treatments for cancer, autism, Ebola, and other diseases.

It remains to be seen how doTERRA will meet the very complex challenges of primary care delivery, and whether they will ultimately come up smelling sweet. But the company clearly has considerable resources,  management know-how, and a committed ecosystem of bright, independent-minded people who are seeking healthcare alternatives.These factors bode well for the success of doTERRA Healthcare.

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Wholesome Rx: Prescribe Produce, Not Pills

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