FT. COLLINS, Colo., Oct. 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, and the coronavirus epidemic prompts significant shifts in healthcare, interest in functional medicine has grown to meet increased demand for comprehensive, personalized care for chronic illness.
"It's not surprising that interest in functional medicine continues to grow as patients seek answers about debilitating chronic conditions through a root-cause model of care," states Lisa McDonald, founder of Integrated Connections, the nation's leading practice growth and operations consultancy specializing in the unique needs of functional medicine practices. McDonald was inspired to help support the growth of functional medicine after personally experiencing the transformative power of the modality. Since 2009, her company has grown along with the field of functional medicine.
"The pandemic has taught us the importance of health and prevention, so many patients are seeking this support in prevention and optimization via integrative and functional medicine practices," McDonald continued. "Functional medicine's root-cause focus is poised to prevent, manage and reverse chronic illness effectively."
Prior to the pandemic, the growth of functional medicine was already underway, and the effective approach continues to receive additional interest. This growth in interest can be attributed to multiple factors including the uptick in patient demand and a trend among clinicians to seek a better way to provide care that is more integrated and individualized to each patient's unique needs and manifestation of a given disease or condition.
Functional medicine is "a systems biology-based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease conditions," according to the Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM). The "individualized, patient-centered, science-based" care lends itself to reversing even the most severe long-term and chronic illnesses and conditions, including COVID Long Haul Syndrome.
Significant Growth in Demand
"When I founded Integrated Connections in 2009, fewer people were familiar with functional medicine, which some refer to as personalized medicine," McDonald said. "Over the years, the field has exploded exponentially and the demand for our services has multiplied continually."
- Average monthly job openings for functional medicine have increased by 163% over the past year on the Integrated Connections online job site, including practice opportunities for a variety of clinicians of all levels and specialties.
- Over the past few years, about 80-90% of functional medicine job openings are for roles with private practices. Currently, private practices comprise 83% of job opportunities listed with Integrated Connections and many large systems are exploring ways to implement functional medicine in the future.
- The volume of functional medicine trained physicians has grown by 96% in the past 5 years, according to the IFM
- The volume of student and resident clinicians enrolled in IFM functional medicine programs has recently grown by more than 45% year-over-year, according to the IFM.
- Since 2016, the engagement of nurses in functional medicine has grown by more than 200%, according to the IFM
McDonald has added a variety of new services and resources to help Integrated Connections keep pace with the demand for practice management support and career growth for functional medicine providers.
While some large systems are increasingly embracing functional medicine, led in large part by the Cleveland Clinic which established its Functional Medicine Clinic in 2014, many clinicians provide functional medicine care via smaller private practices as well. "I believe that functional medicine may ultimately help save the private practice model of care," McDonald explained. Functional medicine continues to thrive in smaller practice settings, evident in the growth of job openings for functional medicine practitioners to join private practices.
Some of the key operational challenges functional medicine practices face regularly are related to HR and recruitment. In addition to an online job search platform and focused recruiting services, McDonald and team apply their extensive knowledge and experience in Human Resources Management to provide expertise and resources to facilitate practice growth. One of her clients' most uniquely valuable HR tools includes an interactive online HR support center tailored to functional medicine. Additionally, McDonald continually connects clinicians with vetted practice implementation resources specific to the unique needs of integrative and functional medicine practices and professionals.
"Patients seek the professional assistance of a clinician to treat chronic disease conditions and achieve optimal wellbeing through root cause medicine and a healthy lifestyle," said Amy R. Mack, CEO of the IFM. "A practitioner trained in functional medicine seeks to empower their patients to resolve the imbalances leading to disease diagnoses and reach their full potential for health. In order to support both the practitioner and the patient, the Institute for Functional Medicine provides access to patient-centered, evidence-based trainings and tools building the confidence and competence of functional medicine practitioners worldwide."
Healthcare industry trends have continued to evolve during the pandemic, including the Integration of functional medicine. To keep up with hiring trends, career opportunities, and best practices for functional medicine growth, visit www.integratedconnects.com to opt in for industry updates or view current job opportunities and practice resources in functional medicine.
About Integrated Connections:
Integrated Connections (https://www.integratedconnects.com) is the nation's leading full-service medical practice growth consultancy specializing exclusively in serving Integrative and Functional Medicine practices nationwide with staffing, HR, career and practice growth resources.
Integrated Connections, founded by Lisa McDonald, provides a variety of resources for functional medicine clinicians including recruitment, online job board, human resources support, practice growth resources and career growth guidance.
Since 2016, Integrated Connections LLC has collaborated with the Institute of Functional Medicine, the global leader in the field. This partnership has facilitated further growth in this field of medicine and transforming healthcare.
SOURCE Integrated Connections