The functional medicine model of health care focuses on the dynamic processes that result in chronic disease. It relies on the analysis of function at the organ system, organ, tissue, cellular and subcellular levels, and is referred to as a systems-biology-based model that addresses the underlying cause of disease using personalized therapeutic interventions to support the achievement of optimal wellness.
In the first retrospective cohort study of the functional medicine (FM) model, Cleveland Clinic researchers found that FM was associated with improvements in health-related quality of life.
This two-year study examined 1,595 patients who were treated at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine and 5,657 patients who were seen at a family health center were given a health-related quality of life questionnaire called PROMIS®. The questionnaire measures global physical and mental health over time, including factors such as fatigue, physical function, pain, emotional well-being, and gastrointestinal issues.
The study investigated the link between the FM model of care and the model of care provided in a primary care setting and found that patients seen at the Center for Functional Medicine showed beneficial and sustainable improvements in global physical health. At 6 months, they exhibited significantly larger improvements in global physical health compared to those from the primary health setting. Around 31% of the Center for Functional Medicine patients improved their global physical health scores by 5 points or more, while 22% of the primary care patients did the same.
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