Benefits of Telehealth for Functional Medicine

Learn what functional medicine is and how to integrate telehealth. Read how providing holistic care with telemedicine benefits your practice.

Over the course of the past year, telehealth services have expanded far beyond traditional primary care. More and more disciplines are leveraging telehealth services to provide care, due to the wide range of benefits for both providers and patients. One specialty that is beginning to break into the world of telehealth is functional medicine. 

The tools functional medicine practitioners need to set up telehealth in their businesses are available and ready for use; and, regulatory measures are beginning to recognize functional medicine as a legitimate form of healthcare. With changes falling into place in favor of functional medicine providers, the time has come for them to make the move towards offering telehealth services in their practices. 

Here, we explain some of the many benefits of offering telehealth in your functional medicine practice, and how Healthie can help you do so. 

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine is quickly becoming a popular approach to disease prevention and management in healthcare. This type of care offers a more individualized and patient-centered approach, looking to reveal the underlying causes of the disease.  Practitioners spend time to understand each individual patient’s genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle factors, and then subsequently use this data and other science-based approaches to pinpoint the underlying causes of disease. 

This approach allows providers to better understand the complexity of a chronic disease, and how the causes and symptoms may manifest differently in each individual patient.  The treatment is holistic, looking to use lifestyle management, rather than medication and traditional Western interventions, to solve the problem. Providers and patients can then work together to treat the root cause of the problem, instead of simply attempting to alleviate symptoms and barely manage the disease. 

While still a relatively new approach to holistic care, research has shown functional medicine to be instrumental in creating positive health outcomes for patients.  Additionally, functional approaches are thought to have less negative side effects and are more productive in identifying and treating both acute and chronic diseases.  Even though traditional Western medicine is widely used and trusted, functional medicine is quickly becoming a competitive alternative for those looking for holistic care. 

Benefits of Telehealth for Functional Medicine

✨ Reduces Barriers to Care

Telehealth makes it easy for virtually anyone who needs functional care to receive it. Taking time out of a workday, commuting to and from the office, or trying to find childcare are all common reasons patients don’t make appointments or have to cancel often. With telehealth, none of these have to be a concern, as patients can join virtual appointments from the comfort of their own home. 

For patients to make positive progress towards their goals, it’s crucial that they have consistent appointments with their provider. Telehealth has been shown to have a significantly lower rate of cancellation than in-person appointments, at 3.82% vs. 5.44% for in-person. With telehealth, it is more likely that patients will show up to their appointments, making it easier for you to build a rapport, work through any struggles since the last appointment, and make a plan for moving forward.  Patients will feel more connected to and supported by their provider with consistent appointments, and providing functional medicine through telehealth is the perfect strategy for doing so. 

✨ Allows Time for High-Quality Care

In-person doctor visits are a commitment, often taking unexpected hours out of the day.  Long wait times, both in the waiting and examination rooms, easily drag a quick checkup out longer than it has to be.  Additionally, doctors and nurses are often bouncing between patients, with little focus or efficiency, resulting in lower-quality care than patients require.  Visits can feel rushed and be surface-level, not providing practitioners with the time and tools to curate an individualized intervention for their patients. 

However, telehealth eliminates these wait times and allows practitioners to focus on one patient at a time, for a designated amount of time.  Providers can seamlessly transition from patient to patient and dedicate all of their attention to the individual and their intervention. Iin a discipline that takes discussion, discovery, and teamwork to uncover the root cause of the disease and come up with a solution, telehealth is essential providing that time for both provider and patient. Those who choose to pursue functional medicine are clearly ready to take an active stance in their health, and virtual services allow them to do so in a productive way. Studies suggest that telemedicine visits are, in fact, just as effective as in-person, with patients consistently reporting high levels of satisfaction.  They appreciate the high quality of communication with their provider and the time they saved by using video conferencing. 

✨ Expands the Reach of Holistic Care

While every person in this country needs easy access to quality healthcare, unfortunately, not everyone has it. Whether patients live in a rural area, with no way to travel to their doctors, or patients are elderly or chronically ill and cannot take themselves to their appointments, certain demographics can greatly benefit from the advent of telehealth.  Telehealth allows providers to reach patients far beyond their immediate vicinity, without having to relocate, from the comfort of their own office. 

By expanding their reach, providers can help improve health literacy in areas that may not have widespread access to a variety of healthcare providers. As more and more patients become invested in their health and realize the benefits of taking an active role in healthcare through functional medicine, more of the population will be likely to invest in health insurance, and providers can continue to help more patients than ever. 

Using Healthie Telehealth to Provide Functional Medicine

Healthie’s HIPAA-compliant telehealth and practice management platform will be instrumental in helping functional medicine practitioners as they implement virtual services into their practice. With a variety of both patient-facing and back office features, practitioners can trust that their practice will run smoothly as they focus on patient care. 

  • Telehealth: Telehealth platform that is quick to implement while supporting compliance with HIPAA regulations. Healthie’s telehealth can be used for individual sessions, or for groups and webinars. 
  • Automated Intake Paperwork: Create a customized intake flow for new clients to be sent automatically upon sign up, which they can complete virtually
  • Client Engagement Suite: Track metrics, journal entries, and goals through the platform to measure patient progress along your journey working together. 
  • Customizable Charting Forms & EHR: Build your own custom forms and chart notes for your business or leverage Healthie’s form library
  • Patient Messaging: Create message blasts and group chats with clients to streamline communication

Are you a member of a Functional Medicine program, or completed an online course? Connect with us today to learn if your program has a partnership with Healthie for discounted pricing and custom membership offerings. Email hello@gethealthie.com

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