Dr. Brandy Zachary discovered the power of Functional Medicine first hand when a “mystery illness” left her declared permanently disabled and stuck in the hospital every 3 weeks — costing her over $700,000 each year.
Without a clear diagnosis, and unwilling to accept her “mysterious” health condition, she fought back to regain her health. She then launched Body Love Cafe —- and 16 years later it grew to become an award-winning Functional Medicine, nutrition, and holistic health clinic with multiple practitioners, located in the San Francisco Bay area.
She also trained other practitioners in clinical competence and rapid practice growth. She is the head instructor at the Functional Medicine Academy™ and has completed extensive post-graduate coursework.
Meeting with patients in her practice over many years, Dr. Zachary developed her own way of successfully working with patients. She would do functional lab testing, put together personalized care plans, and include customized orders of supplements for each patient.
Because she always used a wide variety of supplements from different sources, she would have her patients’ supplement orders shipped to her office. After an office visit, patients would return a few days later to pick up their supplements. It was a practical, if time-consuming, process to manage.
Smartly, Dr. Zachary had already begun exploring ways that she could bring more efficiency to her practice, including introducing a new EMR. And right before the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Zachary had already started taking her practice virtual.
“I’m very fortunate that I was able to see what was coming for my practice,” Dr. Zachary said. “I knew that going virtual was the next step in growth.”
But it was no small feat.
She needed a way to streamline the patient experience and keep them engaged in their plan. She had to create all-new systems that would allow her team to work efficiently from anywhere. Plus, she had to convert 1500 patient files from paper to digital. And she also needed a new way to recommend and deliver supplements to patients who needed them.
Not surprisingly, because of the major overhaul in her practice, Dr. Zachary wasn’t able to do any marketing for her practice from February to August.
Though she loved what she built with Body Love Cafe, when the COVID pandemic truly hit, Dr. Zachary had a hunch that the crisis was not going away any time soon.
So she chose to close her practice doors for real, rather than pay for an empty clinic. Yet she kept her staff employed and made the courageous choice to make the transition to a fully virtual practice.
“Going virtual turned everything upside down. It took a while to streamline working remotely. But once I got my team on board, they loved it.”
Keeping continuity of care while ironing out all of the new systems was a huge headache.
“Before the pandemic, I only went to the clinic for two days per week. Now, I was working every single day 12-14 hours, because I had to do the work of 5 people from home,” she said.
Bringing her office to her home also meant that she would have to carry expensive inventory and fulfill supplement orders on her own. At the same time, many regular suppliers were experiencing their own challenges in fulfilling her orders due to the pandemic shutdowns.
“My supplement orders took over my peaceful house,” she said. “Sometimes there would be up to 40 baskets of packages that needed to go out. And because I didn’t have any of my staff, it was just me and my husband. So it was insane. For about two months, it literally felt like I was living in a UPS center.”
“I finally said, “that’s it — I want patients to order supplements for themselves.” That’s where Well World became critical to her practice’s success.
“I wanted a way to give people meal plans, have some coaching and accountability, order supplements, and be able to offer a discount if I wanted to. Well World met all those needs. It was one of the first things we implemented.”
Dr. Zachary can now assign complete nutrition plans and supplement recommendations to her patients — with recipes, shopping lists and so much more — right through the Well World app.
She customized programs like the Well World 14 Day Detox to make them her own — naming it the Body Love Cafe Detox. Adding in her own personal touches and guidance like movement, vagal tone exercises, and information on retraining a sluggish bowel, helps the app feel just like working directly with Dr. Zachary, like an extension of her expertise.
Patients can track their own progress using the app, and get automated coaching and tips through it. And she says that most patients love the accountability and reminders that they get from using the app.
Patients can also order their Designs for Health supplements and have them shipped directly to their doorstep. No more packing, shipping, or managing inventory from her practice or home office. Because of the app, she’s seeing higher compliance and more reordering of supplements.
It also became much easier for her staff, too.
“We’re not in the business of selling supplements,” she said. “But with Well World, it was easy to offer supplements without feeling like we were pushing them. My staff can just offer them as part of their plan and patients can buy whatever they want.”
“I used to only teach my Body Love Challenge class in person. But now, we’re going to be taking it online — which is great,” she said.
Over 30 days, participants in the 11th Body Love Challenge will get access to short videos and go through the Body Love clean eating program through the Well World app.
Patients will get access to the app for free, and purchase supplements to upgrade their experience if they choose.
Dr. Zachary worked with Well World’s digital marketing partner Brandy Kinnear to launch three new group programs for her practice. So far, they have launched the Body Love Cafe Detox, Weight Loss, and Immunity program.
Instead of maintaining a full in-person clinic, Dr. Zachary now rents a small physical space for her bodyworkers.
She transformed a small room in her home into “mission control,” where she conducts all of her online appointments and reviews her patients’ data in her Well World practitioner portal.
Before going online, only 2% of Body Love Cafe’s patients and practice revenue came from virtual care.
Now, leveraging Well World, about 30% of practice revenue comes from virtual care, with many new patients and clients from across the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia.
And she is not just doing it for herself, but helping other practitioners too! The combination of the Well World app and Designs for Health supplements – together with virtual marketing launches is something Dr. Zachary shares with the practitioners she trains. These key practice solutions allow them to focus on what matters – the business of being the health detective and nutrition expert utilizing whole-body health and advanced functional medicine lab analysis!