Find out more about topics related to IFM's 5-day foundational course, Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice:

Solutions to Address Compliance Issues

As administrative demands on doctors increase, direct patient care decreases,1 which often results in “most care in daily life [being] self care.”2 For example, when patients with diabetes spend only three hours on average with a healthcare professional each year,2 a heavy burden is placed on patients to self-manage their chronic disease, especially the details of the necessary lifestyle changes.

Patient non-compliance is a worldwide problem. In early 2017, Pakistani researchers reported a non-compliance rate of 68.8%.3 This figure is congruent with World Health Organization figures stating that developed countries typically have 50% non-compliance while developing countries have rates that are a bit higher.4 In the Pakistani study, less than a third of the patients complied with recommended preventative measures and lifestyle changes.3 As a result, the researchers proposed patient non-compliance as a hidden risk factor for disease.3

Part of increasing patient compliance is accounting for different goals and philosophies among patients. Some patients see themselves as the primary leader in their health care, while others take a more passive approach.5 Research shows that providers who approach patients as a partner with unique goals and priorities will empower them to self-manage their disease in a better way.6

In the following video, Monique Class, MS, APRN, BC, describes the tools that IFM provides to help patients make changes at their own pace:

Monique Class, MS, APRN, BC, Discusses Effective Tools and Patient Education for Lifestyle Change

IFM’s Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice (AFMCP) teaches you methods and provides resources to address patient non-compliance, including a toolkit with hundreds of simple tools that guide patients through the difficult but necessary lifestyle treatments that allow them to successfully self-manage their disease.


  1. Block L, Habicht R, Wu AW, et al. In the wake of the 2003 and 2011 duty hours regulations, how do internal medicine interns spend their time? J Gen Intern Med. 2013;28(8):1042-47. doi: 10.1007/s11606-013-2376-6.
  2. United Kingdom Department of Health. Self Care – A Real Choice. London: DH Publications; 2005.
  3. Memon KN, Shaikh NZ, Soomro RA, Shaikh SR, Khwaja AM. Non-compliance to doctors’ advices among patients suffering from various diseases: patients’ perspectives: a neglected issue. J Med. 2017;18(1):10-14. doi: 10.3329/jom.v18i1.31170.
  4. World Health Organization. Adherence to Long-Term Therapies: Evidence for Action. Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2003.
  5. Randall S, Neubeck L. What’s in a name? Concordance is better than adherence for promoting partnership and self-management of chronic disease. Aust J Prim Health. 2016;22(3):181-84. doi: 10.1071/PY15140.
  6. Lawn S, Delaney T, Sweet L, Battersby M, Skinner TC. Control in chronic condition self-care management: how it occurs in the health worker-client relationship and implications for client empowerment. J Adv Nurs. 2014;70(2):383-94. doi: 10.1111/jan.12203.

Identify Metabolic Syndrome Faster

Metabolic-Syndrome-Obesity-examinationDue to the rise of obesity around the world, metabolic syndrome is now considered a “global pandemic,” according to researchers.1 In the United States alone, metabolic syndrome increased 28% over just one year at the turn of the 21st century.1 Appearing in 34% of the U.S. population, metabolic syndrome is the leading cause of death in the country and is especially problematic in certain racial and ethnic groups.2,3 Of course, patients with metabolic syndrome are also five times more likely to develop diabetes.4

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Functional Medicine Strategies for Migraines

In the following video, Robert Rountree, MD, offers a clinical strategy for a common clinical complaint: migraines.1,2,3 He explains how to use lifestyle and nutrition to relieve migraine symptoms and address their underlying causes. At IFM’s Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice (AFMCP), our educators will teach you strategies to find the underlying causes of this common complaint and many others.

Dr. Rountree on Clinical Strategies for Migraines

Learn more about Functional Medicine strategies to treat various hormonal, gastrointestinal, and cardiometabolic conditions at our next AFMCP. Using a case-based, collaborative format, AFMCP provides the tools you need to build upon your current clinical skills and improve your outcomes with all types of chronic conditions.


  1. Lipton RB, Bigal ME. Ten lessons on the epidemiology of migraine. Headache. 2007;47(Suppl 1):S2-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4610.2007.00671.x.
  2. Rasmussen BK, Jensen R, Schroll M, Olesen J. Epidemiology of headache in a general population--a prevalence study. J Clin Epidemiol. 1991;44(11):1147-57.
  3. Steiner TJ, Birbeck GL, Jensen RH, Katsarava Z, Stovner LJ, Martelletti P. Headache disorders are third cause of disability worldwide. J Headache Pain. 2015;16(58):1-3.

Improving the Odds: Lifestyle Changes for Hypertension

Every year, 38.9 million physician visits involve patients with essential hypertension as the primary diagnosis.1 This makes it the second leading cause of physician office visits (only routine infant/child check-ups are more common).1 Hypertension, as well as many other cardiometabolic conditions, tends to respond well to lifestyle changes, but how do we motivate patients to adopt lifestyle changes that are realistic, achievable, and truly effective?

For some practitioners, the challenge of lack of compliance for lifestyle changes can lead to feeling disillusioned and resigned, reluctant to discuss lifestyle changes that are still considered essential.2 Lifestyle change is hard, for hypertension as well as many other chronic conditions, but with the right tools, we can help our patients get it right.

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Healthier Patients, Happier Clinicians


By IFM Educator Shilpa Saxena, MD

Physician burnout is an increasingly common experience reported by nearly 46% of healthcare providers.1 Burnout in primary care physicians has increased over the previous decade not only in the United States but in Europe as well.2,3 Despite the variety of definitions that have been used to measure burnout, certain themes have tended to emerge, including:

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What Can Clinicians Expect to Change After Attending AFMCP?

Robert Rountree, MD, describes his perspective on the top takeaways for clinicians who attend Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice (AFMCP). From techniques to increase patient compliance to tools for assessing and treating patients, clinicians walk away from IFM’s foundational course ready to make changes in practice.

Dr. Rountree on Top Takeaways from AFMCP

Worrying Trends Suggest Increasing Morbidity

First, the good news: a recent longitudinal study found that in the US, longevity continues to increase.1 Unfortunately, the study also found that the proportion of a person’s life in which they could expect to live disability-free is decreasing—and that the young will have more years with disability than individuals over 65.1 Decreasing quality of life may continue to be all-too-common as the younger generation matures. As clinicians, we can help by promoting health and wellness for our patients, and doing it early and often.

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Functional Medicine Through Active Learning


For two decades, the Institute for Functional Medicine has offered its foundational 5-day program, Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice (AFMCP). This groundbreaking program integrates science, research, and clinical insights to help treat and prevent chronic disease.

IFM continues to lead the way in transforming continuing medical education. Our clinical content has always been innovative, and our educational presentation format is state-of-the-art. Instead of hours of long lectures, at AFMCP you are engaged in an active learning experience. IFM leads the way in best practices for continuing medical education:

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Go Beyond Theory to Improve Patient Outcomes

The best learning experiences involve a dynamic interplay between theory and application. At IFM’s Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice (AFMCP), attendees participate in their own learning and thereby acquire skills to apply immediately in the clinic.

Expert speakers lecture on the biochemical foundations of disease and wellness, while facilitated small group sessions and case studies help turn theory into practice. Experienced Functional Medicine practitioners guide clinicians in using these newly learned concepts for better patient outcomes.

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Lifestyle, Diet, and Helping Patients with Mental and Physical Illnesses

As the incidence of chronic conditions continues to rise, the proportion of Americans with mental health conditions has followed. Anxiety, depression, obsessive behaviors, eating disorders, and other conditions often occur in concert with health conditions such as metabolic syndrome, autoimmune disorders, and cardiovascular concerns. In fact, patients with mental illnesses may be more likely to come to the doctor's office with minor illnesses than patients without mental health diagnoses.1 Nutritional changes can address both physical concerns and mental health issues.

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Learn More About AFMCP