Explore a Functional Medicine Case

In an analysis of visits to primary care offices, researchers found that patients discuss a median number of six topics with physicians in one 15-minute visit.1 With so much to talk about, there is a risk of misalignment between patient and clinician priorities, and this may lead to challenges eliciting key information or explaining treatment plans.2

With these factors in mind, how would you approach the case of Julia, a young woman who presents with sinusitis, eczema, and diarrhea?

Julia’s is just one of the cases in IFM’s new Introduction to Functional Medicine online course. This free, interactive, case-based course provides the tools to effectively connect with patients and educate them about lifestyle interventions. The course demonstrates the application of core Functional Medicine principles and techniques that can help patients restore their health. For many of our patients, sustainable lifestyle interventions can change their disease trajectory,3,4 yet lifestyle change tends to remain a challenge for both clinicians and patients.5,6

Patients are not only living longer, but living longer with more complex conditions, generating questions about how the standard of care needs to evolve.7 Depending on which criteria are used, somewhere between 13-72% of patients have comorbidities.8 There is a shortage of clinicians who can effectively help these patients.7,8

The Introduction to Functional Medicine online course demonstrates the rapport-building Functional Medicine Timeline with Antecedents, Triggers, and Mediators. For patients presenting with multiple symptoms, each one with multiple potential causes, Functional Medicine offers a personalized approach to assess and treat the underlying issues. The course provides a suite of Functional Medicine tools that aid clinicians in efficient history-taking, a heuristic for structuring patient encounters over long-term follow-up, and personalized patient education handouts.

This course is approximately 1.5 hours, and up to 1.5 CME credits can be earned.

In a free online course, learn more about Functional Medicine


  1. Tai-Seale M, McGuire TG, Zhang W. Time allocation in primary care office visits. Health Serv Res. 2007;42(5):1871-1894. doi:1111/j.1475-6773.2006.00689.x.
  2. Kowalski CP, McQuillan DB, Chawla N, et al. ‘The hand on the doorknob’: visit agenda setting by complex patients and their primary care physicians. J Am Board Fam Med. 2018;31(1):29-37. doi:3122/jabfm.2018.01.170167.
  3. Kushner RF, Sorensen KW. Lifestyle medicine: the future of chronic disease management. Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2013;20(5):389-395. doi:1097/
  4. Bauer UE, Briss PA, Goodman RA, Bowman BA. Prevention of chronic disease in the 21st century: elimination of the leading preventable causes of premature death and disability in the USA. Lancet. 2014;384(9937):45-52. doi:1016/S0140-6736(14)60648-6.
  5. Martin LR, Williams SL, Haskard KB, DiMatteo MR. The challenge of patient adherence. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2005;1(3):189-199.
  6. Elwell L, Powell J, Wordsworth S, Cummins C. Challenges of implementing routine health behavior change support in a children’s hospital setting. Patient Educ Couns. 2014;96(1):113-119. doi:10.1016/j.pec.2014.04.005.
  7. Reeve J, Blakeman T, Freeman GK, et al. Generalist solutions to complex problems: generating practice-based evidence—the example of managing multi-morbidity. BMC Fam Pract. 2013;14:112. doi:1186/1471-2296-14-112.
  8. Fortin M, Stewart M, Poitras M-E, Almirall J, Maddocks H. A systematic review of prevalence studies on multimorbidity: toward a more uniform methodology. Ann Fam Med. 2012;10(2):142-151. doi:1370/afm.1337.

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