Note to Self: Your Patients are More than A Lab Values…Even If the Labs are FunctionalMar 29, 2022
Over the years the way that I practice has gone through many phases, evolutions, and transformations.
And I don’t believe there is just one way to treat patients and clients, as the saying goes, “there are many paths to Mecca.”
That being said, a certain level of assessment and testing is required, - and most importantly, that is recordable so their progress, or lack thereof, is trackable.
What I am saying is please stop the quick free Q and A’s, writing recommendations on sticky notes which you tell yourself you will record somewhere later…that just won’t happen. Ultimately, the patients care suffers.
As far as assessments and testing- I have gone the health history and symptoms route- back in the days where it was only on paper and keeping the files was my biggest challenge, now a days to the electronic questionnaires and files which has made things soooo much easier, applied kinesiology (muscle testing), basic serum labs, and of course, more functional testing.
A few years back, I felt I had a strong grasp on my patients needs through point and shoot recommendations- without the functional testing, and I did very well and helped a lot of people. This is still a valuable part of the pharmacy practices which I mentor- first we offer a point and shoot, then we graduate them to consults if needed.
And, maybe it was just a cop out because such a broad access of testing was not as readily available, and maybe I just found shooting from the hip in a cavalier short of way was easier…,
Now…its different, your patients need and deserve more
With the exception of a few states, most any type of practitioner can hook themselves up with a functional lab testing company, from hormones to gut/digestion/biome, to detox, nutritional relevance and more, and have this become part of their practice.
At the Soul of Medicine, Kay Corpus MD and I see the fall out of this all of the time- many practitioners without a through understanding of how to assess, start running these tests- and basically leave their patients hanging, not knowing how to interpret, then they come to us.
I think this is because they are accustomed to the conventional approach- a lab value is out of norm, they make a recommendation to tweak. And even doing that on serum labs is not OK, as it is not treating the patient as a whole- something we are very proud of in our practice, the way we holistically assess and treat our patients.
A big part of Soul of Medicine revolves around functional lab tests AND how the patient is functioning, their past, and their hope for their present and future- this is the holistic view of any assessment we view…symptom checklist, serum labs, pee test, saliva, poop, blood spot- all the things.
You can give me two different patients, same labs, although different life stories, experiences, and differences in how they function, and I can make two quite different recommendations in regards to supplements and lifestyle strategies.
Why? Because any test is just a snapshot in time. We must know more, where they have been and where they want to go- and in my practitioner mentoring practice here at Functional Pharmacy, we dive into this. Me and my members go over patient’s lab tests AND their story. Their life experiences up until now. Their challenges, their goals, their desires…
Functional Medicine is quickly becoming a “catch phrase”- a google adword to get business, although does not qualify quality of care anymore.
Functional testing and nutritional protocols might seem cool and sexy, especially to the practitioner new to this field, excited to get to the route, help their patients in a different way.
What I ask of you, as you step into the new way…keep your mind open, keep it fresh, keep it in wonder and continue learning. It is the functional practitioners who I work with who are the consummate learners that make the biggest difference and have the most rewarding practices.