What to Expect From a Functional Medicine Visit at the Atma Clinic -- By Dr. Stephen Stevenson

How does a Functional Medicine appointment different from a conventional medicine appointment?

A conventional medicine visit is geared toward making a diagnosis based on the client’s symptoms, and then instituting a treatment plan based on that diagnosis. The conventional medicine visit then focuses mainly on relieving those symptoms rather than treating underlying symptoms.

This difference is reflected in several aspects of a Functional Medicine visit. In this and some upcoming blogs I will describe a few of these differences, such as intake forms, the length of appointments, and some lab tests typically not performed in a conventional medicine setting, as well as the reasons for them.

Clues to the underlying cause of health issues can frequently be found in lifestyle behaviors, previous lifetime events, and genetic predisposition. In-depth investigations of these areas require a much more thorough intake form that is completed before the first appointment. This also requires a longer appointment time than is typically seen in a conventional medicine appointment, as well as specialized laboratory testing to get at the root of health concerns.

The intake forms, generally completed a week before the first visit, gives the practitioner an opportunity to review the client’s history prior to the appointment. This allows the initial interview to be more focused and the time to be used more effic