Meg McElroy follows the model of functional medicine. She enjoys it because it requires:
- Attention to details
- Organization of information
- Knowing the subtleties of a patient’s health story and journey, which can only be obtained by getting to know a patient!
Meg created the extensive questionnaires so she can spend more time during visits getting to know each and every patient. This allows her to build better connections and hear important details with a clarity only provided by the spoken word.
These forms are not your typical list of questions, but they are part of the “clues” that are needed for her as a “health detective!“
THE FIRST VISIT
Meg is not your “typical” healthcare practitioner. She spends an hour before each new patient appointment, reviewing answers to questionnaires and organizing these according to what could be impacting someone’s health according various categories such as:
- Mitochondrial function (how your body makes/uses energy)
- Ability to absorb and obtain nutrients from food/air/water
- Hormonal “symphony” (cortisol, thyroid, reproductive hormones, vitamin D)
- Ability to process/eliminate “toxins” efficiently
- Immune function (with particular attention to the balance between TH1/TH2 and T-regulatory cells)
The first visit typically takes around 90 minutes in-person. This visit is focused on the “patient narrative“. A physical exam (no gown required!) is part of this visit, and she will order testing based off the summary of all findings.
Click here for an example of a patient’s experience with functional medicine (Dr. Sult, mentioned in the link, is one of Meg’s IFM professors).
ADVANCED LAB TESTING
Meg is able to order and interpret all tests that mainstream medical providers can order (e.g. ultrasounds, etc), in addition to most prescriptions. However, she uses these in away unique to the functional medicine model. For example, blood tests (most of which are billed to insurance) require an evaluation of PATTERNS in addition to the specific values.
In the conventional, insurance-based model of medicine, the focus is on identifying disease. Either a patient has a disease or they don’t – this makes a visit quicker, but doesn’t allow time to look for dysfunction (which takes a lot more time!).
Lab testing in functional medicine looks at biochemistry in blood/urine/saliva/stool, but these should always be addressed in the context of a patient’s symptoms and history. Not all “abnormals” are bad!
Although CCM has over 40 advanced lab options, Meg ultimately finds that 90% of symptoms improve by focusing on key areas. Which one of her teachers (Dr. Kharrazian) taught her:
- “Barriers” (gut, nasal passages, lungs)
- Lifestyle habits (sleep, stress, food)
Treatment involves pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, herbs, therapeutic food, mindfulness training, and more.