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Finding The Right Healthcare Practitioner

The right healthcare practitioner can change your life. Finding the right practitioner may take you some time, however. I have had some amazing doctors and some not so good. You want a doctor who will listen to your issues, and have open communication while leaving their ego at the door. An ideal doctor, in my opinion, would have both conventional and functional backgrounds, to see both sides of the equation. More and more conventional doctors are finding that they see the benefits of getting the training and education in functional medicine, as more science emerges.

Key Questions to Ask a Potential New Doctor:

Key Questions to Ask a Potential New Doctor:

  • How do you feel about nutrition and health? Do you believe that food is medicine? This is an important component to treating you holistically. A healthy diet is fundamental to maintaining health.

  • Do you work with other clinitions – Nutritionists, Health Coach, etc. Having the added support of a nutritionist or health coach to work with you as you implement dietary and lifestyle changes recommended by your doctor ensures you stay on the right track.

  • What will be your approach in treating my symptoms? What types of therapies do you use i.e., dietary, chiropractic, acupuncture, prescriptions.) We want to find a doctor who looks for the reasons why you are feeling discomfort, and not just prescribe medications.

  • What types of diagnostic tests do you use? Are they covered by insurance? These tests can get costly, and you’ll want to know the costs up front.

  • Would you be willing to take the time to discuss what my lab tests mean? – Many times, they hand you a sheet of paper, and say everything looks normal. When in fact, there’s more to it. Understanding your lab work sets you up with a benchmark for future visits.

  • Will you be able to recommend vitamins and supplements to support my overall health and wellness goals? Most functional medicine doctors will do this and when you purchase supplements from a trusted source you know you’re getting good quality ones.

  • What is your opinion on chronic disease? Do you believe some can be reversable? This is so important. A functional medicine practitioner looks at the whole body, not just parts to treat your symptoms. They’re training includes how to find the triggers that are causing you discomfort, not just treat your symptoms.

  • Do you believe in the importance of gut health and how that plays a major role in our immune system? 70% of our immune system resides in our gut. Healing the gut is the first step towards healing your body, and understanding the foods and lifestyle factors needed will be most important. If a doctor doesn’t agree with that, I will move on to someone who does.

  • Do you take insurance or cash only? Very important to know before you commit as you will have a lot of out-of-pocket expenses without insurance.

  • How much time would my initial visit take? A functional medicine practitioner will spend more time (one-hour or more) with you on the initial visit to go over your health history. This differs from most conventional doctors who only spend ten minutes with a patient.

  • How much is the initial visit and follow up visits? This is important information to know as your visits, if paying cash, could add up and you want to know what your health investment will be.

Before you meet with your doctor, write down these and other questions you have ahead of time, so you’ll be prepared. Your health is in your hands, and you need to be your own advocate. Do the same for your health and yourself that you do for your children.

To find a functional medicine practitioner in your area go to The Institute of Functional Medicine’s website:

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