Free Download: Functional Medicine Timeline, a History-Taking Tool

History-taking is part of every clinician’s best practice, but its importance in facilitating patient compliance is sometimes overlooked. While most can agree that the patient perspective is a critical component of good medicine, research suggests patients will be more engaged in treatment plans when history-taking is patient-centered and not merely focused on patient-reported outcomes.1,2

Going through an AFMCP course? Access the IFM Timeline via the toolkit access within your course >

IFM’s key history-taking tool, the Functional Medicine Timeline, is intended to help organize the patient’s experience into a history that helps both patient and clinician better understand the causes of their illness. What makes the Timeline different than other tools is that it has the effect of giving the patient insight into previous life events and validates for them that their story has been heard, both of which help to motivate them to make lifestyle modifications and engage more fully in the treatment plan. The Timeline is patient-centered because it places central importance on the patient’s experience, not just the clinician’s interpretation of the patient’s symptoms.3

In the following video, IFM Educator Kristi Hughes, ND, explains how the Functional Medicine Timeline enhances her clinical practice.

The Timeline is a graphical representation that allows clinicians to identify factors that predispose, provoke, and contribute to pathological changes and dysfunctional processes in the patient’s physiology. In this way, both practitioners and patients can identify cause-effect relationships that might otherwise go unnoticed. By covering the period from preconception to the present, the Timeline reflects the connection between the whole lifespan and one’s current health.

IFM’s Applying Functional Medicine in Practice (AFMCP) is a five-day introductory CME course that uses scientific evidence and case-based learning to teach practitioners skills and strategies to reduce complex, chronic disease and improve patient engagement. Clinicians will come away with nearly 400 tools to enhance their practice and increase patient satisfaction, including the Functional Medicine Timeline.

learn more about applying functional medicine in clinical practice (AFMCP)


  1. Basch E, Abernethy AP, Reeve BB. Assuring the patient centeredness of patient-reported outcomes: content validity in medical product development and comparative effectiveness research. Value Health. 2011;14(8):965-66. doi: 10.1016/j.jval.2011.10.002.
  2. Lasch KE, Marquis P, Vigneux M, et al. PRO development: rigorous qualitative research as the crucial foundation. Qual Life Res. 2010;19(8):1087-96. doi: 10.1007/s11136-010-9677-6.
  3. Tractenberg RE, Garver A, Ljungberg IH, Schladen MM, Groah SL. Maintaining primacy of the patient perspective in the development of patient-centered patient reported outcomes. PLoS One. 2017;12(3):1-20. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0171114.

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