3X4’s new Functional Medicine Practitioner Spotlight series features interviews with practitioners, consultants and functional medicine thought leaders to explore everything functional medicine practitioners need to know about successfully building, managing, and growing their private practice.
The following is an interview we recently had with Lisa Vasile, Functional Medicine Integrative Nurse Practitioner, CEO and Co-Owner of 4 Better Health
What can you tell us about your practice?
LV: 4 Better Health, Inc is a private Functional Medicine practice with one NP, one MD and an office administrator. We opened in Sep 2015 and have supported over 1000 patients applying the concepts of integrative and functional medicine to reduce symptoms and reverse dis-ease for optimal health and vitality. We see patients with the following dynamics:
Autoimmunity, GI dysfunction (IBS, GERD, bloating, pain, constipation, diarrhea), Skin conditions (acne, rosacea, psoriasis), hormone and thyroid dysfunction, Cardiometabolic dysfunction (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, blood sugar, insulin resistance and obesity), sleep dysfunction and fatigue.
What surprised you the most when you started your practice?
LV: Running a business is not easy. Regardless of seeing patients or not, there is always something to do for marketing, charting, bookkeeping, studying a diagnostic dynamic, payroll, website creation and blog writing. We strive to educate, inspire and empower the community at large, and this can’t be done simply within our patients/practice. So the amount of time and creativity this takes was a bit surprising.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome as you built your practice? How did you overcome it?
LV: Following my intuition and mission/vision. Many people are nay-sayers. Many people can’t see past what they know (even if it isn’t working or doesn’t make them happy/healthy/vibrant) – a lot of professional colleagues did not believe building a cash-based medical practice would survive, never mind thrive.
What advice would you give to other practitioners considering launching their own practice?
LV: Have a plan and check off all the details. Work with a bookkeeper FROM THE START. Hire someone to do all your books, taxes and payroll if possible. Work with a web-designer and get good photographs. You can always learn how to add or change content on the website, but it’s great to let someone else create the initial and make sure that person knows your vision.
If possible, hire someone to do marketing and/or front load content to be released so you can focus on building the business.
Find a great colleague to bounce ideas off of and have honesty to sort decisions that will best serve business goals.
What excites you most about the field of functional medicine?
LV: The most exciting part is the vast resources and ways to support our patients. In traditional medicine there is only our exam, imaging, lab data and medications. There is very little emphasis on food and optimal nutrient levels as medicine. Lifestyle and complementary therapies are rarely discussed. The explosion of research coming from the NIH Human Microbiome project is the most exciting as it pertains to future health benefits because the more understanding and incorporation of gut health in medicine, the more we as practitioners can offer our patients.
Where do you see your practice 5 years from now?
LV: We see our practice growing to >2000 patients, adding in a Nurse and IV therapy. Continue Offering 1:1 while adding group Func Med to our patients as well as more community and public practitioner education presentations.