When looking for a functional medicine doctor in Boston, MA, you may be surprised to find the options are extensive. 20 years ago, the term “functional medicine” was barely known. While it’s not yet a common household word (although we’re working on it!), it is at least gaining in popularity. And in some areas of the country, there’s an encouraging demand for functional medicine practitioners, Boston being one of them.
But how do you know if you’re getting a functional medicine doctor that will be a good fit for your needs? We’ve outlined a few things to consider in your search for an alternative care provider.
1.Credentials and Experience
First things first, are they properly licensed, certified, and trained? Some can use the term “functional medicine” as the method they use to treat patients, but that doesn’t mean they are actually licensed, physicians. If they are a physician (MD or DO), find out if they also took additional courses and training in functional medicine. Chances are they did, but it never hurts to check.
2.Insurance & Logistics
Do they take insurance? Most functional medicine doctors in Boston do not take insurance as it adds considerable busy work. If they do, check on your specific carrier (hint, hint…we do!).
Also, find out specifics about office visits – what are office hours? Will they prescribe routine medications and how are refills handled? If you’re currently on a medication, it’s important to know how the potential doctor would handle the oversight and treatment of the prescription medication.
What are their fees? Copays? Cash discount? Membership options? Find out about all of these things up front. There’s no one right or wrong answer here. It’s simply important that you fully understand the costs associated with the treatment.
If you’re tight financially and footing the entire bill, ask them if they can be flexible with testing, supplements, and medications prescribed. For instance, if you can simply eliminate things from your diet instead of doing an expensive test for it, will that suffice? See how flexible they are with your personal situation. This will make a big difference in your comfort level with treatment.
4.Philosophy of Health
Depending on what you’re seeking for your treatment, you’ll want to make sure the functional medicine doctor in Boston that you choose is in line with your philosophy. Are you simply focused on the physical aspects of your health and feel uncomfortable with anything else? You’ll want to know if this doctor is going to try to lead you down the spiritual path. Conversely, perhaps you know that the emotional and relational pressures of your life are the biggest factors to your poor health and you want someone that can lead you through those complexities with confidence.
What is your view on vaccines? Is faith a major factor in your life? Find out their philosophy, specifically how it relates to those areas that are important to you.
You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can judge a doctor by his laugh. Okay, not true…we made that one up. Don’t judge. But, it is okay to assess your connection or lack thereof with a potential doctor. One of the defining characteristics of functional medicine care is the focus on the partnership between the patient and the doctor.
Our patients become our dear friends. We often are with them in some of the hardest moments of their lives. Thankfully, we also get to celebrate with them in some of the best moments of their lives as they see healing and life come back to them.
Do you sense that this doctor will truly listen to your story, your concerns, and even your ideas about what to try? An egotistical doctor that won’t support you listening to your body, may not be the right fit for you if you have a strong intuition about your health. Many times, you can get a sense of a doctor’s personality by finding content he or she has created – podcasts, youtube videos, blogs, social media profiles, etc. And of course, an initial consultation is the best way to assess if you mesh with the doctor’s personality.
5 Journeys Functional Medicine Practice in Boston
Of course, we would love to be your partner on your health journey. But we believe it is important for you to feel right about your decision, so we’ll never force the matter. You can learn a little more about us here, and nothing helps your decision better than a face-to-face (or zoom-to-zoom). Schedule your initial consultation to see how we connect!