Functional medicine places the majority of focus on preventive care and the resolution of chronic conditions. Functional medicine providers often implement specialty labs to identify health conditions before they manifest into health issues. One of the objectives of functional medicine is to avoid acute and chronic health issues through a greater emphasis on preventive medicine.

When acute and/or chronic conditions present in a patient, functional medicine providers focus on addressing the condition and discovering its source or root cause. Functional medicine would try to identify a patient with plaque build-up in the arteries prior to the presentation of minor chest discomfort through specialty lab screening so that the condition could be addressed through diet, lifestyle and supplements before it developed into coronary artery disease.

For patients with chronic conditions, functional medicine providers should treat the condition, explore why the condition developed in the patient and seek the least minimally invasive treatment for the patient. A patient with coronary artery disease might be given a prescription medicine in conjunction with supplements, a diet plan and personalized recommendations to increase activity while decreasing stress. Functional medicine providers are more likely to manage chronic conditions with less support from specialists.

In general, functional medicine does not address urgent care issues. Almost all functional medicine providers are focused on identifying, addressing and resolving root cause issues and not on handling urgent care issues through any means other than traditional medicine.