A new approach to healthcare has popped up, to go along with patient-centered care.

No longer is medicine doled out in a patriarchal fashion where the doctor dictates which treatments will be undertaken.  Now, patients are informed which options are feasible and it is the patient who decides the course of action, and takes on more responsibility.  Healthcare delivery has transitioned a step beyond to formulate functional medicine.

How does Functional Medicine differ?

Rather than just treating symptoms, functional medicine seeks to not only treat the underlying cause of chronic illness, but focus on prevention of  health problems.

Key features of functional medicine include:

  • Integration of previous medical history, clinical findings and lifestyle is attempted with a view to meshing mind, body and spirit.
  • Health is promoted as a positive energy, not just the lack of medical problems.  Exercises, diet, and nutrition are tailored to each individual.
  • Nutritional supplements, herbs, detoxification programs, meditation and stress-management techniques are considered.

 Core Principles

According to the Institute of Medicine. “Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century” , there are 6 primary principles of functional medicine:

  1. Seek a balance between the internal and external body, mind and spirit
  2. Practice a patient-centered approach to treatment, rather than a disease-centered outlook
  3. View health as a positive vitality
  4. View and connect physiological factors throughout the body
  5. Treat people individually, taking both genetic and environmental conditions into consideration
  6. Promotion of organ reserve for increase to health span

The article further states:

“A patient-centered approach refers to health care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values, and that ensures that patient values guide all clinical decisions.1 At IFM, patient-centered care is at the center of what we call the therapeutic partnership, the relationship that forms between a patient and clinician that empowers the patient to take ownership of their own healing. The power of the therapeutic partnership comes from the idea that patients who are active participants in the development of their therapeutic plan feel more in control of their own well-being and are more likely to make sustained lifestyle changes to improve their health.”

This also describes holistic medicine.  The term “functional medicine” may just be a new moniker for the 21st century.
The Medical Strategist will keep you posted on any new developments.
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