There’s no denying it; the practice of medicine has evolved over the years, and it’s all for a good cause. New diseases and viruses are emerging and reemerging, hence the need for more innovative and advanced medical approaches to help combat the infections more effectively. Solutions like telemedicine, immunotherapy, point-of-care (POC), diagnostics, Functional Medicine, etc., are proving to offer a more patient-centric approach to improved healthcare.
Today, we focus solely on Functional Medicine. What is it, how is it different from conventional medicine, and how is it changing healthcare provision for the better? These and more details are available in the section below. So let’s go!
Functional Medicine (FM) Overview: What Is It?
The Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM) defines Functional Medicine as “an individualized, patient-centered, science-based approach which empowers patients and practitioners to work together to address the underlying root cause of disease and promote optimal wellness.”
Put otherwise; Functional Medicine is an alternative approach to healthcare, where the practitioner aims to comprehensively understand the patient’s medical history, genetics, lifestyle, and biochemical factors. The practitioner then leverages data analytics to draw insights from the collected information and design a customized treatment plan for improved patient health.
FM shifts away from the conventional disease-centered approach to medical practice in that it focuses on the whole person rather than an isolated symptom. Thus, it allows practitioners to address disease complexities exhaustively, leaving no stone unturned. Come to think of it, one condition such as a chronic disease may result from different causes like genetics, lifestyle, or environmental factors. In the same regard, one cause may be the root of multiple conditions. And that’s why you need the Functional Medicine approach for improved healthcare, as it focuses on particular manifestations of diseases for each patient.
How is Functional Medicine Different from Conventional Medicine?
Perhaps the most apparent difference between functional medicine and conventional medicine is that the latter treats patients based on their symptoms, whereas the former digs out the underlying causes of disease. Below are five other differences that prove that FM is a more superior approach to healthcare provision.
Patient-Centered vs. Doctor-Centered
Functional Medicine promotes health holistically by following the patient-centered care evaluation approach. That means the practitioner listens and learns from what the patient’s going through before developing a tailor-made treatment plan to address the individual-specific needs. However, we can’t say the same about the conventional medicine approach, where the healthcare provider examines the patient’s symptoms for diagnosis without caring what caused the symptoms.
Health-Oriented vs. Disease-Oriented
In the conventional approach, the practitioner aims to identify a disease by examining symptom patterns and combating/treating them by prescribing drugs used to treat any other patient with a similar illness. On the flip side, FM aims to promote health improvement and vitality for each patient. As such, the practitioner digs into the factors that cause disease and recommend the right treatments for returning the patient to their original optimal health. Beyond medication, FM treatment may involve diet changes, proper nutrition, regular exercising, etc.
Cost-Effective vs. Expensive
FM is overly cost-effective for patients in the long run because it aims to unmask the root cause of disease and prevent it from resurfacing in the future through sustainable treatments and lifestyle changes. On the other hand, conventional medicine requires patients to purchase costly medications that they may need to take indefinitely. Even worse, there’s no guarantee that the drugs may resolve the underlying issue. Instead, most of them only suppress the symptoms.
Holistic vs. Specialized
With Functional Medicine, one practitioner can holistically take care of any patient, regardless of whether the underlying issue falls in their area of practice or not. However, that’s not the case with conventional medicine; it separates practitioners depending on their specific specialties, such as gynecology, psychiatry, immunology, neurology, etc.
How Functional Medicine Improves Health and Healthcare Provision
Functional Medicine is what the healthcare industry has been missing to enable patients to achieve optimal levels of health restoration while saving on costs. The patient-centered approach puts more power in an individual’s hands, allowing them to control their wellbeing and make sustainable lifestyle changes to enhance their health.
Overall, FM improves patient health and healthcare provision by:
Improving Patient Engagement
The FM approach is designed to empower patients to be co-creators of their health and wellbeing alongside the medical practitioners. The patient and the clinician have a mutual relationship, and they both develop and implement a suitable treatment plan to improve the former’s wellbeing. This engagement increases the patient’s commitment to fully implement the treatment plan for the sake of their health and wellbeing.
Accelerating the Clinical Adoption of Scientific Discovery
Did you know that there’s usually a 15-17 year gap between scientific discovery and its clinical adoption in conventional medical practice? FM drastically reduces this gap by using evidence-backed findings to translate scientific breakthroughs into clinical solutions in real-time. FM clinicians adopt innovative medical solutions earlier and combine them with a patient-centered approach to improve healthcare.
Offering a New Operating System
FM’s never-seen-before clinical model brings a new approach to assessing, diagnosing, preventing, and treating chronic diseases. And the results? Conditions that were believed to be untreatable in the outdated disease-oriented practice have been resolved hassle-free by Functional Medicine.
Incorporating the Latest Medical Technologies
After collecting patient information, FM leverages the latest technologies in data analytics, systems biology, genetic science, etc., to derive valuable and accurate insights concerning specific conditions and their causes. These technologies help practitioners understand how lifestyle, genetics, and environmental factors cause diseases to emerge and progress.
Overall, it is safe to state that Functional Medicine is the face of improved health and healthcare provision. The patient-centric approach aims at treating the whole person, not just their symptoms – and it works! Even more amazingly, the treatment provides a long-term solution to devastating conditions by offering sustainable medications and promoting lifestyle changes. That means you won’t need to spend frequently on expensive drugs, which only suppress the symptoms in most instances.
Ready to try out Functional Medicine for your long-standing conditions? Great! Schedule a consultation with one of our highly trained physicians, and begin your journey to lasting health improvement. Here’s to living healthily ever after!