Clinical Pearl To Increase Patient Compliance

Clinical Skills Make For a More Successful Functional Medicine Practice

Marketing your practice is important.  I don’t think anyone could argue that point.
However; creating a successful functional medicine practice requires more than just business acumen. A Great FM clinician has a mastery of physical examination, and can link common abnormalities to nutritional deficiencies. In this video, I explain how early onset nail “spooning” can often times mean that your patient has an iron deficiency anemia.  Putting the two together can have a profound impact for your patients compliance.  When a patient is educated, they follow through with your advice.  At the end of the day, nothing is more important.  Compliant patients get better, refer others, and rapidly help grow your functional practice.

Iron Deficiency – More Clinical Tips

Iron deficiency is extremely common in patients with the following issues:

  • Gluten Sensitivity (malabsorption due to intestinal damage)
  • Occult bleeding – often emanates from the GI tract and can be caused by infections, chronic NSAID use, and inflammatory bowel conditions
  • Vegetarians – the best form of absorb-able iron comes from animal meats.
  • Women with heavy menstrual cycles – loss of blood leads to loss of iron.

Symptoms of Iron Deficiency:

  • Fatigue even after resting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Muscle pain
  • Exercise Intolerance
  • Angular Stomatitis
  • Chronic headache with exertion
  • Restless leg syndrome

help for functional medicine doctorsWhat You Learned In School Is Nutritionally Outdated

Most medical training has very little focus on nutrition, and many schools teach that iron and other nutritional deficiencies are not common.  They teach that these problems typically occur in third world countries.  If you want a successful FM practice, you have to focus on relearning this vital information.  Many of your chronically fatigued patients – especially females – are going to be iron deficient.  Make sure you are looking for it both through physical exam and on your labs.  I always order a complete blood count, an iron panel, and ferritin.

In the mean time, check out these articles to learn more on this topic:

To your success,

Dr. Osborne