In a first-of-its-kind publication, researchers from Cleveland Clinic report that Functional Medicine care is associated with improved health-related quality of life. The research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open, provides the results of a retrospective cohort study comparing patients treated at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine and patients seen at a family health center. Health-related quality of life outcomes were assessed using PROMIS®, an NIH-validated questionnaire focused on patient-reported outcomes that provides a measure of patients’ global physical and mental health that can be monitored over time.
The study found that patients seen at the Center for Functional Medicine exhibited significantly greater improvements in PROMIS® global physical health compared to those seen in a primary care setting following six months of care. After 12 months of care, patients treated with Functional Medicine sustained the improvements seen at six months, but this was not significantly different from improvements seen in primary care patients. However, among a subset of patients, Functional Medicine care led to improvements in PROMIS global physical health at both six and 12 months that were significantly greater than patients seen in a primary care setting.
Dr. Patrick Hanaway, an author on the study said, “Functional Medicine focuses on the person, not on the disease. The results of this first-of-its-kind study represent a huge step forward – clearly demonstrating Functional Medicine as an evidence-based approach to address the underlying causes of complex, chronic disease and improve global outcome
At IFM, we believe that Functional Medicine can be especially helpful for patients with diseases or dysfunction that primary care has traditionally found difficult to treat. Research is ongoing into the benefits of the Functional Medicine approach on patient outcomes, as well as costs both to the patient and the healthcare system. You can expect to see more publications that explore these issues in the near future.