Functional medicine is a crucial antidote to the dual problem of healthcare cost inflation and chronic dependency on the healthcare system.
As healthcare costs become increasingly unsustainable, it is apparent the heart of the problem faced by patients and payers is the frequency with which costly disease management strategies are applied before exploring the potential of disease reversal. Rather than looking beneath the assortment of diagnoses to find the underlying causes of their health problems, patients with chronic conditions are encouraged to follow costly, often lifelong medication regimens and hope for occasional days of freedom from symptoms.
Functional medicine offers the potential for achieving unprecedented levels of health restoration and financial savings. By uncovering and addressing the underlying causes of the common conditions that afflict a growing number of people—autoimmune diseases, diabetes, and digestive issues, to name a few—functional medicine brings the potential to liberate patients from their dependence on costly medications that are not designed to address the root causes of their disease.
Typically, a 15- to 17-year gap lies between scientific discovery and its implementation in the practice of medicine. Functional medicine practitioners dramatically reduce that gap by using solid scientific foundations to translate breakthroughs in scientific understanding into clinical practice in real-time. As a result, functional medicine practitioners are early adopters of innovative knowledge and practices. The combination of scientific rigor with patient-centered pragmatism achieves superior results in many cases. A number of functional medicine patients have experienced resolution of illnesses that were thought to be untreatable in conventional practice.
Critically, functional medicine patients are assumed to be co-creators of health along with their clinicians. This is a mutually empowering relationship between patient and provider where both share responsibility for creating and implementing the healthcare plan to achieve desired well-being. As insurance deductibles increase, patients pay more out of pocket, but this also tends to increase patient commitment and promote a higher return on investment. A greater level of engagement can lead to more years of health, not just more years of life.