The LMRC was born out of thousands of hours of speaking and working with functional medicine practitioners who want to start or build their practices but feel overwhelmed and in need of support or guidance. After years of developing a library of resources, the LMRC is now offering a membership to provide clinicians with ongoing, thorough and personalized practice management and clinician education support.
- The history of shared medical appointments or Group Visit Toolkits
- Successful frameworks to empower patients
- Features available to members of the LMRC
- Business growth for functional medicine practices
- And so much more!
Resources mentioned in this episode:
James Maskell: Welcome to the Evolution of Medicine podcast, the place health professionals come to hear from innovators and agitators leading the charge. We cover the latest clinical breakthroughs in health technology, as well as practical tools to help you transform your practice and the health of your community. This podcast is brought to you by the Lifestyle Matrix Resource Center, who provide a range of options to help you deliver successful, effective, functional, and integrative medicine. To find out more and to get started, go to goevomed.com/lmrc. That’s goevomed.com/lmrc.
Hello and welcome to the podcast. This week, we have a super special episode with one of our core sponsors, the Lifestyle Matrix Resource Center. Over the years at the Evolution of Medicine, we have tried to find organizations that deliver really powerful tools that help you be successful, whether you own your own practice or you’re practicing functional integrated medicine as an employee inside a health system or inside another practice, or if you have a vision for practicing in that way. Patient education is everything. And so we found Lifestyle Matrix Resource Center through the Group Visit Toolkits back in 2013, been keeping an eye on that organization as they pumped out so much great education in almost every niche that’s relevant to the practice of functional integrated medicine. They’ve been a sponsor for three years on the podcast. We’ve never done a session with them, and so we wanted to spend today talking to Josiah Bartz. He’s the head of the Lifestyle Matrix Resource Center (LMRC), like the Evolution of Medicine, he’s done over a thousand calls with practitioners over the last decade and has so much to share and learn about what’s mission critical in building successful practices, building successful education tools. So we’re really grateful for his time, insight and expertise. This podcast, like all of our podcasts, is sponsored by the Lifestyle Matrix Resource Center. We’re super grateful for their support. Thanks so much for tuning in. Enjoy Josiah.
James Maskell: A warm welcome to the podcast for the first time, Josiah Bartz. Welcome, Josiah.
Josiah Bartz: Hey James. Great to be here.
James Maskell: Hey, I’m super excited to have you here on the podcast. You and I met actually years ago, when I had first heard about Shilpa and the Group Visit Toolkits, and really got excited about the fact that one, that group functional medicine exists and that there was real potential for a more scalable, more efficient delivery system for functional medicine which could become a sort of a standard of care. And at that point, we’ve had… Now, over the last three years, especially since the Lifestyle Matrix Resource Center became one of our key sponsors here at the Evolution of Medicine, many chances to talk about the industry and where it’s going and so forth. And I really value your insight. So let’s start from the beginning. I know a lot of people have a kind of an interesting path to why they ended up spending their time working in the service of functional integrated medicine. So why don’t you kick us off with the story?
Josiah Bartz: Yeah. So probably 20 years ago… We’ve been working in this space for a long time and as we’ve been working with different practitioners, I think one of the things that became very clear to us was that functional medicine and starting a business and operating a business in functional medicine as a provider is not an easy task. And so it kind of got us thinking, “What are the big bucket issues for a lot of these practitioners?” And one of them was, and this is something that you guys have been working on with the practice accelerator through EvoMed, is helping doctors sort of build a blueprint for their business so that they can scale functional medicine. And actually, if we want to make functional medicine the operating system of all of medicine, you have to be able to have a successful practice.
And so in that same vein, as we started to look at what these big challenges were, it was doctors, they needed mentorship, they needed coaching, they needed patient education resources. A lot of them are going to organizations like IFM and getting really great education. But the challenge was, when I get back to my clinic, how do I translate all this stuff that I’m learning to my patient? And so that kind of started us on our journey to start developing these clinical programs and practice management resources. Really in probably early 2007, we started out with the stress program and then we started sort of plodding away thereafter. And shortly after that, we met Dr. Saxena, who we were listening to her speak at IFM and she was talking about shared medical appointments and group visits.
And we thought, “Man, this is a perfect fit for the things that we’ve been developing,” because there’s so many providers that spend so much time educating in a one on one, and it’s just not a practical solution for education. And so if you can give people in a small group of eight to 16 patients, you can bill a 99213, and you can really help them move the needle with their health. They can build community. It just made a lot of sense to us. So we established a relationship with her around 2009, 2010. And since that time, we’ve been building all the Group Visit Toolkits along with our programs over the past decade. And that was the starting point for us was really realizing, there’s a lot of challenges for practitioners to educate patients in their practice. And so we wanted to create some things to make that more doable and easier for them to implement. And so that’s what we’ve been working on for the last decade or so.
James Maskell: Yeah. So one of the things that came up in the functional forum, the 100th Functional Forum recently was just like the state of patient education around that time. Right. So I was a sales rep at that time, 2007 to 2013. I remember going into a lot of practices and seeing… what would you say? Some pretty crappy looking photocopies, black and white, tons of information. Not a lot of graphics. When I see some of the tools that Lifestyle Matrix Resource Center makes, with awesome diagrams and things that are really valuable in helping practitioners to help patients understand what’s happening in their physiology, right? What is happening at that core level and really understanding their body. Where did that part come in? Because I see the group visit toolkits are great, but I just see that… even some of the physical resources that you’ve had over the years. If you had a gut practice, how are you going to explain leaky gut in a way that’s concise and clear and helps the patient understand exactly what’s going on?
Josiah Bartz: Yeah. Those were a lot of the conversations that we had. For different practitioners, they always would lament like, “Hey, I went to school to be a doctor, not an artist.” And a lot of them, when they’re trying to explain these concepts to patients, they’re taking out their labs, they’re drawing some of these concepts out and trying to explain things to patients. And for us, we thought, “That’s definitely an area that we can really help these providers when they’re trying to translate some of these complex concepts to patients.” And so when we first came out, the very first program we came out with was a stress related program. And when you talk about stress, I think the average patient, they think about stress, the mental, emotional stressors of life, family, finances, relationships, but they don’t necessarily think, “Hey, when I wake up in the morning and I don’t eat breakfast and my blood sugar hits 80, that elicits a physiologic response where the body cranks out cortisol, so that you can bring normalized blood sugar to your brain so that you can function.”
And then people go on these hypo to hyperglycemic curves all day long. And they’re really driving their HPA access into a problem. And so when you look at blood sugar dysregulation, you look at inflammation, you look at sleep, these are all things that if patients understand what’s happening physiologically when they’re stressed out and that the reason that they can’t deal with stress, the normal day to day stressors of life is because physiologically, they’re doing these things to their body that aren’t allowing them to bounce back as quickly. And so when you talk about those kind of concepts with patients and help them understand these ideas, it’s like the light bulb can go off for them. And they say like, “Wow, okay. I had no idea. I’m not a breakfast eater. I just get up, I drink my coffee, I don’t eat for four hours,. and then I go eat a big lunch and I’m kind of on that roller coaster.”
And it starts to click for them. And so we were giving doctors a system in which to think about how to educate patients in these different areas and that ultimately empowered the patient to be able to start to, yeah, use supplements and those kinds of things and medications when necessary, but ultimately, empowering them to know what lifestyle influences and what factors are going to be important for them to kind of move the needle with their health. And so the presentation pads and the patient handbooks and all these resources are really designed just to help reinforce a lot of the information that the doctor’s going over with the patient in that office visit, and then something that they can give them home with to kind of digest on their own, so they can really get it and start to feel like, “Okay, yeah, this makes a lot of sense. I can do this.”
And then they slowly start to implement some of those lifestyle changes. Because for us, I think the big thing was, behavior change is probably one of the biggest things to get people to do. And so that’s why group visits are so powerful and people need education, but it’s got to be something that you can give to them in little bite size pieces over a long period of time so that they can start to implement one small thing after the next, and then before you know it, they look back and they’re like, “Wow, I made a lot of progress,” but it’s not going to all happen at once.
James Maskell: I thought that was such a great slide from Shilpa. Her presentation at the hundredth forum was that trans-theoretical model of change and how I think so many practitioners are so focused on the diagnosis and the treatment that they don’t focus in on what actually makes the biggest impact long term, which is, can you activate people into permanent behavior change?
Josiah Bartz: Yeah. Right.
James Maskell: And permanent behavior change is really the thing that will determine people’s health trajectory five years from now, but ultimately, the supplements and the labs can be a bit more like fun and sexy and cool looking. And so there’s a lot of focus put on that. And I think that’s one of the reasons why the coaching industry has grown, and through meeting a bunch of coaches over the years, I’ve found that a lot of the patients will go to a functional medicine doctor, get an amazing protocol, but just kind of feel shame and embarrassment that they haven’t been able to execute the plan. And that plan is very difficult to execute. I mean, making any changes in your diet requires so many changes in your day to day life, from the shopping list to learning to cook and so forth, that there’s a lot more support that’s needed. So I’m grateful that you shared that.
And then one other thing, I would say when I was doing my first practice management trainings in 2010, years before I came across you guys, I would always ask, “Does the education that you’re providing pass the husband test?” And the husband test was like, if the doctor gives it to the patient who, in many cases was the wife, if they took it home and said, “Hey, look, this is what this doctor’s got me doing,” would the husband look at it and go, “This isn’t real,” or, “This doesn’t look credible.” And so I see that it’s super unlikely that any one clinic, or every clinic will come up with their own education tools that are really well, they’re all going to hire a designer. They’re all going to come up with their own leaky gut diagram. It makes a lot of sense for an entity like LMRC to come along and solve all of those problems in that way.
So when we were first looking at it, obviously the connection with the group visit toolkits was an important reason why we decided to bring you on as a sponsor, because I knew that that’s what I wanted to focus on, was group medicine. But there’s so much more to it. So do you want to give us an overview of what the LMRC provides, has provided historically, and then what happened in the pandemic and sort of where you’re headed right now?
Josiah Bartz: Yeah. So like I said earlier, we built out all these programs and every year we kind of plod away. Each of the programs has a textbook. So it’s a functional medicine based textbook that’s written by Dr. Tom Williams and we kind of lock him in a room and he writes these books for about a year to a year and a half, and they really provide the evidence base around these different areas. You know, when you talk about stress, gut health, cardio metabolic. And so each of our programs are centered around these particular areas. And obviously, we realize that doctors are not working in a silo where they’re just treating stress or just treating cardio or treating GI. But we kind of help guide them where they want to focus their efforts right now, or where they feel most comfortable, especially a lot of new to functional medicine providers. As they’re coming in, they’re feeling like the overwhelm with the amount of information and they might be going to different conferences and hearing all this stuff. So we’re trying to help them start in an area where they feel like they can focus.
If they’re primary care, they’re coming out of a hospital system, they’re working with a lot of cardio metabolic patients with hypertension, diabetes, those kind of things, we might guide them to our cardio metabolic program. If it’s somebody that does a lot with GI stuff and it makes sense to start there. So these programs, we’ve been developing over the last decade, but then every three to four years, as the research evolves, we’re updating this content on a regular basis. So the textbooks get updated. And then we also have these in-practice guides and the in-practice guides are really, we call these the cliff notes of the textbook. They’re really chock full with clinical case studies and protocols and what labs you want to consider using when you’re working with these different cases. We have a team of clinical experts that are part of the LMRC and that encompasses doctors like Dr. Shilpa Saxena, Dr. Elroy Vojdani, Dr. Vincent Pedre. And there are others that are part of our team, Dr. Carrie Jones, that they’re helping us develop some of these clinical tools.
So in a sense, you don’t get to learn directly and go and stand with them in their practice and see patients together. But you can get some insight through the videos and through the books of the case studies and how they would approach some of these cases. So the roadmaps, which are the textbooks, the in-practice guides, which are the clinical case studies and protocols, and then each of the programs have a variety of patient handbooks that providers can send patients home with. Presentation pads, what you and I were talking about, these really nice illustrative tools that help practitioners just educate more efficiently in the one on one and things that they can send them home with.
And then, over the last really two years, we’ve done about a thousand consults with different practices all over the country. And we really just have been kind of figuring out, what are some of the bigger challenges that a lot of these practices have? And some of those challenges, especially during COVID were, “Hey, I’m doing a lot of telehealth and these physical resources are great, but I can’t really use them in a virtual consult.” And so there was a big need to have our resources digitally available. And then part of the other issue for a lot of practices, really, no matter where they are, is needing help marketing their practice, attracting the types of patients that they can best help. And so over the last basically year and a half to two years, our team has been developing out these marketing plans, building out these different topics that give practitioners a PowerPoint slide deck. There’s email campaigns that are built into a software to promote your webinar, post-webinar email content, blog posts, social media images, and copy. Things that you can plug into. You can brand it your own, make it your own. But the idea is that 85% of the content is good for you. And then you need to add your 10 or 15% personal touch to it.
And then you can go out and execute these marketing plan topics, push it out to maybe patients that you haven’t been activated in your practice in three or four years and you want to try to reactivate them, or maybe you have a lead list of people that you want to get out to. Or maybe you just want to do some local talks in your community. Maybe you’re connecting up with the local pharmacy or something like that. You can plug into the content that our team is producing and you can execute those things. And then we also have a team of practice consults that work with you to help kind of figure out what are your biggest challenges that you’re facing in your practice, what are some of the goals that you have?
And then they’ll help to guide you into the thing that will help you the most. And part of when you onboard with us, we put together a 60 to 90 day execution plan, and we have an accountability strategy where you can meet with us as often as you’d like, but we will help hold you accountable to the things that you want to implement so that in 90 days from now, you’re seeing the needle moving in your practice and you’re implementing these things. So that’s really one of the key elements for success around implementing any of this stuff is that you actually have somebody holding your hand through the process and holding you accountable to it.
James Maskell: Let me ask you this. Is this more for someone who’s just coming into functional integrated medicine and building everything from scratch? Or is this equally useful for practitioners who already have a successful practice?
Josiah Bartz: Yeah, it’s really both. I mean, I can just tell you, as an example, we were at a conference earlier in the week and there was a gal that came up to us and she’s like, “I spend so much time educating patients when they come into my practice, especially that first office visit. And a lot of the times, those patients aren’t ready for what I have. And so I feel like I’m spinning my wheels, not attracting the right patients into the practice and then that first appointment, and they’re not ready to move on with me.” And she’s like, “I need some systems to be able to drive those people to me, but actually maybe pre-qualify them before they sign up with me as a patient.” And so what she was saying is she’s not really looking for more patients. She’s busy enough as it is, but when she does bring in new patients, she wants to make sure they’re the right patients for the practice.
And so for her, she was saying, “I want to develop out some courses that I can sell online, that when people come to my website, they can plug into this course for 50 bucks. They can do a three, four week cardio metabolic crash course or immune crash course. And I can pre educate them through some video content and through emails and through some of these different things and then use that as a way…” Then once they go through that information, they’re going to know like, “Yeah, I want to become a patient of this doctor and I’m ready to take the next step with her.” And so a lot of this content can be used to help streamline some of the systems for a busy practice. If you’re a practice that has mid levels that you’re hiring or bringing on new practitioners, we have a whole five module course that you can bring them through in all of these different areas, where they go through the textbooks, they watch videos, they go through the case studies and protocols, and it can really help to get them up to speed on sort of the functional medicine philosophy and start working in your practice without you having to kind of handhold them through that process.
So it’s across the board. If you’re new to functional medicine, there’s a place for you to start. If you’re really trying to level up your practice and really plug into marketing content, group visit stuff and things that can help streamline some of the processes in your practice, it fits on both sides of that.
James Maskell: Beautiful. Well, look, I guess I just want to say here that we’ve been super excited over the last three years to build a partnership with you guys, and along with Fullscript, just being like a real asset to every company and every organization that we put you in touch with, every clinician. Because ultimately, you’re solving real problems that exist in a really great way. I know up until now, the business model has just been, like, you could buy a Group Visit Toolkit, or you could buy a set of education tools. And last week I know you’ve just announced a sort of a new way that you’re structuring everything. So do you want to share a little bit more about it?
Josiah Bartz: Yeah. So again, instead of just buying the kits or plugging into the individual resources, we have a new membership model. There’s two essentially membership packages that you can plug into. There’s the Practice Builder, which gets you started with one program. You’ll get a kit with all the physical resources for that program, but you’ll get digital access to all that as well. And then the marketing plans that I mentioned, there are two built into the membership out of the gate for each program. And then every quarter we’ll actually deploy another marketing program in the membership for you. So you’ll be able to plug in to a new marketing plan every 90 days, and that library will continue to build over the next couple of years. And so you’ll have a variety of topics to pull from, with all of that content, with the blog posts and webinar slide decks and email campaigns, all of that kind of thing.
And then we also do quarterly grand rounds. So all of our clinical experts, we do these quarterly grand rounds where you can plug in. Dr. Vojdani is going to do one in May on lupus case. Dr. Saxena’s going to do one on a PCOS case in August. And then we’re going to have Dr. Carrie Jones come in November and do one on hypothyroidism. So it’s just a way for you to rub shoulders with some of these clinical experts, dig deep into some of these case studies and ask questions. Down the road we’ll probably ask you to submit your own case studies and we’ll have them pick one to go through. But that was another area that we’ve learned that a lot of providers, they want to be able to dig deeper into some of these case reviews and see how other providers would handle them. So those are just kind of a taste of some of the things that are available in the membership. So there’s the practice builder, which is one program. And then the Practice Pro, which gives you basically access to all of the content that we produce through the LMRC, including all the group visit tool kits and all the digital resources. And you can get some additional discounts on some of the physical assets that we have as well.
James Maskell: Super cool. Well, look, I think this has been great to share. I know we haven’t really had an LMRC focused podcast before, even though you guys have been sponsoring us for three years, but yeah, I’m excited to share this with our audience because I just know how valuable it is. And I think the timing that you shared there is so real because I think so many practitioners… In our practice accelerator and everything that we talk about, it’s really important to build one successful funnel for your practice before you start doing many other things. And so if I look out at the most successful clinics that I’ve seen, they really take time to build one successful clinical funnel based on one particular condition, where they can create a whole structure of education and automation that helps people go from, “Oh, I’ve never heard of this,” to, “I must see this doctor. I must see this practitioner for this particular condition.”
And once you have that sort of running and you have it sort of in a way that it’s automated and it’s working, then it’s about time to build another one or continue to develop that one. And I just know that so many practitioners wish that they could write blog posts every week and wish they had time for this or that. But so few get actual time to because the practitioner is the busiest person. They’re the business owner and they’re actually seeing the patients and getting people better and helping people thrive. So we are super grateful. Check out the Lifestyle Matrix Resource Center. We will have all the links in the show notes and we’re really grateful.
Josiah, it’s been awesome over the last three years to spend regular time with you and just get your view on the industry. One thing that we did at the Evolution of Medicine early on was to actually have free conversations, concierge calls with doctors. And I remember actually organizing a podcast with Gabe called, “What we learned from the first thousand conversations.” And Gabe, like you, have both spent a lot of time with a lot of different practitioners. And I’m grateful for that because it really does give you a much better understanding of what’s happening at the sort of meta level than any single practitioner can get. Even if they go to every conference and spend every time networking with all practitioners, it’s a very specific, important and valuable sort of view into the industry.
And I think that allows the creation of things that are really valuable, so grateful for our time, grateful for our relationship, grateful for your sponsorship and check out Lifestyle Matrix Resource Center. We’ll have all the details in the show notes. And thanks so much for tuning in. This has been the Evolution of Medicine podcast. Lots of great content coming your way. Thanks so much for tuning in and we’ll see you next time.
Thanks for listening to the evolution of medicine podcast. Please share this with colleagues who need to hear it. Thanks so much to our sponsors, the Lifestyle Matrix Resource Center. This podcast is really possible because of them. Please visit goevomed.com/lmrc to find out more about their clinical tools like the group visit toolkit. That’s goevomed.com/lmrc. Thanks so much for listening and we’ll see you next time.
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