We hear it time after time…patients visit their primary care physician because they feel something is not right; yet the doctor can’t find anything wrong with them, so they are sent home without any sort of treatment. Functional medicine however, takes a different approach to help our patients.
Functional medicine treats the entire body as a system, rather than just the symptoms. See, when patients visit their primary care physicians, and they are told nothing is wrong with them, what the doctor means is they can’t find anything to treat in the standard way. Whether patients visit us with or without an underlying disease or illness, functional medical practices can help them to feel better. By understanding everything patients say, we can determine the imbalances and dysfunction that have caused the patient to feel like something is not right.
Most physicians are symptom and disease oriented, so they only know to treat conditions that need immediate care, however this is found to be often ineffective, which is why patients turn to your functional medical practice. Functional medicine is becoming increasingly popular in the Los Angeles area because patients want to be understood and provided with an explanation for why they feel the way they do. Here are some of the things patients in the Los Angeles area look for in a functional medical practice.
A patient-centered care model
Your patients are coming to your practice for a relationship that they can’t have with a primary care physician or a physician in an urgent care center. You should be spending as much time as you need to fully understand the reason behind your patients’ visits. When you are speaking with them, you should be getting into the details of their personal lifestyles, their medical history (including family health history), and any environmental factors that may be affecting their health. After listening to your patient, you should walk away with ideas for these three key questions:
- What has triggered the symptoms or the reason for their visit?
- What relieves the symptoms and what makes them worse?
- What underlying issues may have caused this?
By determining the answers to these three questions, you can address the patient’s unique symptoms and find the best treatment option.
A Doctor that goes the extra mile
When patients visit an urgent care or primary care physician, they might not be prescribed any medication, but the doctor could recommend taking an OTC medication to ease the symptoms. Unfortunately, some doctors are so used to recommending what they always have, that they suggest a big brand name medicine that in fact makes the patient feel worse.
When recommending an OTC medication, you need to ask a few questions. Here are some of the things you should be asking your patient before recommending anything:
- Are you allergic to anything?
- Do you follow an organic diet?
- Are you sensitive to gluten?
- Do some medications give you side effects, and if so what are those side effects?
A lot of people believe OTC medications work well for everyone, but here’s the thing: they don’t. Most people assume OTC medications are harmless because they are in such a small doses, and you can access them without a prescription. However, harmless is not the word. Very rarely does OTC medications cause anything as serious as death, but it is not impossible if used incorrectly. It can also (more commonly) cause uncomfortable side effects and be the cause of long term health complications.
When patients visit your functional medical practice, they trust that you are providing them with the best care. When you assume brand name OTC medications will treat their symptoms, you’re not paying attention to their unique conditions.
Genexa: A better alternative for your patients
The biggest reason you want to ask your patients questions about allergies and their diet is because you might find that they are allergic to an ingredient in brand name OTC medications. It is very common for ingredients such as gluten to be put into one of these. Patients don’t typically worry about their medications having gluten in them because most people are unaware of all the ingredients that make up their medications. Many of your patients might wonder “What is gluten doing in an OTC medication anyhow?”
To become a better doctor and to cater to your patients’ unique needs and dieting habits, you should begin to look for healthier alternatives. Genexa for example, is an organic, gluten free OTC medication that is full of wholesome ingredients. Genexa could help those patients who have a gluten allergy or sensitivity and experience uncomfortable symptoms when taking other medications.
Patients generally only visit an urgent care or a primary care physician if something is wrong. Visiting a functional medical practice can be a resource to patients who want to prevent any illness or disease. By listening to your patients and taking their family medical history into consideration, you can develop a strategy to help them to prevent getting ill in the first place.
As a functional medical practitioner, you can help your patients to build a healthy diet and exercise plan that fits best with their lifestyle, suggest vitamins that might attend to any deficiencies they may have and provide them with a healthy alternative to the medications they might already be taking.
How to cater to your patients’ needs
The difference between functional medicine practices and other doctors’ offices is the personalized experience your patients receive. Rather than being like every other doctor that recommends your patients go to the pharmacy to grab the big name OTC medications, why not carry your own supply to save them an extra step?
When you question your patients about any allergies or diet restrictions they may have, you will find that quite a few can’t take the OTC medications most doctors recommend. Be prepared to give your patients what they want and need and become a Genexa partner. Fill out our practitioner partner application to get started today.