Integrative vs. Functional Medicine
Integrative Medicine, has more modalities to treat and diagnose the patient than what is learned in medical school. This would include herbs, both Chinese herbs and Western herbs, and would include acupuncture, manipulation and various mind/body therapies. The goal here is to add more treatment options to the patient, many of which have less side effects than our current medication treatment plans.
Functional Medicine is really looking at the biochemical root of problems. Thinking of a tree, what is usually treated is the branches of the tree – hypertension, depression, irritable bowel. In Functional Medicine, the focus is to go deeper, to the roots of that tree. Is it due to genetics? Is it related to stress? Is it a result of eating the wrong foods? Is it the after-effect of wiping out all the good bacteria in the patient’s gut from taking too many antibiotics? So, in Functional Medicine, the perspective used is to look at the biochemistry a little deeper than what is done in conventional medicine, and then treat that root problem.
Dr. Steinmetz has been practicing both Integrative and Functional medicine for 20 years, there are many practitioners who practice one or the other. Those that only practice Functional Medicine don’t always know the herbs that would be administered and used in Integrative Medicine. These practitioners are not always aware, or may possibly be vaguely aware of hypnosis, guided imagery, and other tools that are used in Integrative Medicine. The unique perspective Dr. Steinmetz brings is that she has been practicing both concurrently for the past 20 years and has found patients get better results using both.
Return on Investment
The timeline for the return on investment can be determined once the specific services the healthcare system will be providing are confirmed. If the system decides to begin implementing Integrative and Functional Medicine in the cancer center then those numbers could be solidified. Or if the system comes to the conclusion that the goal is to have a center with three doctors, an acupuncturist, a chiropractor, licensed clinical social worker, and give classes, all in one year, then again, based off of this information, the return on investment can be calculated.
Benefits of Implementing Integrative and Functional Medicine
There are a number of benefits that can be presented. If it is run efficiently, it is most certainly a positive income stream. Concepts such as supplement sales will be new to most healthcare systems but will increase the return on investment and are worth mentioning.
Additionally, this type of medicine is something patients are looking for in every area of the country. Patients are looking for systems that are more aligned, and not just practicing conventional medicine. Currently, there’s the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health, and there are probably close to 90 members in that now. These are all large universities or hospital systems that have departments of Integrative Medicine some stronger than others.
If systems want to stay ahead, they need to offer integrative and functional medicine. One of the services being offered by JP Killeen & Associates, Inc., is helping healthcare systems to execute Integrative Medicine and Functional Medicine as part of the institution. There is now some data from the Cleveland Clinic concerning long-term cost-savings, which supports the belief that this endeavor will bring cost-savings into the healthcare system with shorter length of stay, and less re-admissions.
Lastly with the large amount of grant money available to do research and provide services there is a major opening for receiving grants once Integrative and Functional Medicine has been implemented into the system. Dr. Steinmetz would assist in assessing grants and coordinating with the departments involved.