I am always willing to learn about new approaches to care management. Research in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open looks at use of something called the Functional Medicine model of care. (JAMA Open Article) According to the article, functional medicine “provides an operating system that works to reverse illness, promote health and optimize function by addressing underlying causes, symptoms, and functional imbalances in interconnected biological networks.” Uhhh, okay. Social determinants (of course) and use of food as a medicine are apparently also key. Anyway, the researchers used a retrospective cohort study conducted at a Cleveland Clinic primary care site. Patient-reported data was used to calculate a health-related quality of life score. Patients who received more traditional primary care were compared with those who were treated at a Functional Medicine Center in the clinic. The Functional Medicine patients were required to see a dietician and a health coach. There were about 400 matched patients in each arm of the study. At six months the patients treated at the Functional Medicine Center had statistically significant better improvement in their self-reported health status scores, but this difference did not remain statistically significant at 12 months. The study is pretty useless, or at least the writeup is, it tells us nothing about what was actually different in the treatment of these patients and it makes no attempt to identify which aspects of the difference in treatment might have been responsible for the initial improvement in scores. In addition, it is hard to understand why you are relying solely on patient-reported data when all kinds of biometric and other information must have been readily available. This may be a beneficial approach to treating patients, especially those with chronic, lifestyle related diseases like diabetes, hypertension and arteriosclerosis, but I am not sure this kind of study really tells us anything meaningful about Functional Medicine’s utility.
✅ Subscribe via Email
About this Blog
The Healthy Skeptic is a website about the health care system, and is written by Kevin Roche, who has many years of experience working in the health industry. Mr. Roche is available to assist health care companies through consulting arrangements through Roche Consulting, LLC and may be reached at [email protected].
Healthy Skeptic Podcast
This is an outstanding report on total global drug spending and trends, with projections out to 2025. It helps you understand this important area of health care, which does much...
June 1, 2021
MedPAC 2019 Report to Congress
June 18, 2019
Two health care firms owned by private equity firms are merging in a transaction supposedly valued at $3 billion. HealthComp administers self-funded plans for employers and other groups and Virgin...
September 27, 2023
NextGen, an electronic medical records firm, is being put out of its public company misery, as a PE firm will pay $1.6 billion for the one-time high-flier.
September 7, 2023
A number of companies which attracted large financing rounds during the epidemic have imploded when reality set in. The latest is Cano Health, which is a little surprising since it...
August 15, 2023
Access ACO Care Management Chronic Disease Comparative Effectiveness Consumer Directed Health Consumers Devices Disease Management Drugs EHRs Elder Care End-of-Life Care FDA Financings Genomics Government Health Care Costs Health Care Quality Health Care Reform Health Insurance Health Insurance Exchange HIT HomeCare Hospital Hospital Readmissions Legislation M&A Malpractice Meaningful Use Medicaid Medical Care Medicare Medicare Advantage Mobile Pay For Performance Pharmaceutical Physicians Providers Regulation Repealing Reform Telehealth Telemedicine Wellness and Prevention Workplace