Functional Medicine: A Solution When Adoption of Clinical Research Is Slow

The common goal of medical research is to produce meaningful outcomes, but when the return on research investment takes 17 years on average,1 the process of applying science to clinical care can start to feel confusing, frustrating, and—especially to the patient—like a slog. As translational research suffers through the time lags caused in part by the many layers of approval required and the failure to articulate program objectives,2,3 patients incur skyrocketing healthcare costs and unsatisfactory long-term outcomes. What are patients and clinicians alike to do in the meantime?

As Tom Blue, IFM director of industry strategy and partnerships, explains in the following video, Functional Medicine accelerates science into practice by using new research to safely and effectively address the underlying causes of illness.

Tom Blue, IFM director of industry strategy and partnerships, explains how the early adoption of clinical research can benefit your patients.

Evidence for the early adoption of clinical research is beginning to reveal itself. Recent preliminary evidence shows patients treated with Functional Medicine at Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine have improved outcomes while costs actually decreased. On the whole, 39% of patients reported feeling better as the result of Functional Medicine care.4

By primarily focusing on evidence-based fundamentals of care, applying new research in the clinic, and engaging patients to make sustainable changes in lifestyle factors, Functional Medicine can free patients from increasing healthcare expenses and their dependence on costly medications that do not address the root cause of their disease. The acceleration of science into practice allows Functional Medicine to offer the potential for achieving health restoration and financial savings sooner rather than later.

To learn more about accelerating research into practice and improving your patients’ satisfaction and outcomes, attend IFM’s five-day foundational course Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice (AFMCP). This case-based education program introduces clinicians to the possibilities of using recent scientific evidence to create meaningful health outcomes for their patients.

Register for AFMCP


  1. Health Economics Research Group, Office of Health Economics, RAND Europe. Medical research: what’s it worth? Estimating the economic benefits from medical research in the UK. London: UK Evaluation Forum; 2008.
  2. Morris ZS, Wooding S, Grant J. The answer is 17 years, what is the question: understanding time lags in translational research. J R Soc Med. 2011;104(12):510-20. doi:10.1258/jrsm.2011.110180.
  3. Rubio DM, Schoenbaum EE, Lee LS, et al. Defining translational research: implications for training. Acad Med. 2010;85(3):470-75. doi:10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181ccd618.
  4. Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine outcomes data—after 6 visits. Accessed August 16, 2017.

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