Taking Charge of Your Health

effective as a physician, you have to have the patient in
focus, to keep the patient and what matters most to that
patient as the prime goal. So I don’t say that this is something
entirely new, entirely different. This is an extension
of what you’ve already been doing. CHRISTINE EICKHOFF: What
we really want to encourage is that they have a Whole Health
team at their back. It’s not only empowering but it’s a new
way for them to conceptualize their health care. RISHI
MANCHANDA: There has to be a therapeutic bond that’s set up,
especially for veterans who have repeatedly encountered a system
that sometimes can be difficult to navigate. ROSS: There is a
sense that you have to ask the specific questions that will get
specific answers. And if you ask more open ended questions and
know the patient better, you will get a much broader idea of
what is wrong and can often treat the patient more
effectively. DONALD EKNOYAN: And it really gives me so much
information, as far as what they’re seeking and making sure
I’m aligning with that and helping them to achieve that
goal. ROSS: And once I have gotten a good, clear idea,
there’s a trust that is gained. And I often am able to establish
symptoms and problems that others have missed in the past.
And it does save time overall. So when doctors say they don’t
have enough time, they frequently are going down a
track that will not yield good results, and they’ll have to be
seeing the patient again. It does seem that you may be asking
a few more questions and lengthening your conversation
with the patient, but in the long run, the patient is feeling
better and is taking care of himself better. CHRISTINE: A lot
of the Veterans who are coming into our program are used to the
standard model of care, where they go and they see their
primary care provider or a specialty clinic and then a
recommendation is made for how they move forward. The approach
here is a little bit different. ROSS: I see some of my doctors,
for example, proactively calling patients up. The patients find
that very, very comforting and know that they can trust this
person. CHRISTINE: When the Veteran comes in, they’re
introduced to our team and then they’re introduced to the
services we have to offer, some which they’ve never heard of
before. RASHMI MULLER: As I finished my fellowship training,
I found out about the patient centered care kind of initiative
and they were very interested in bringing yoga to Veterans. We
were able to start a 10 minute gentle yoga class. After three
months of follow up, we were able to see a significant drop
in their fasting blood sugar as well as their blood pressure.
ROSS: We don’t want to just extend their life. We want to
make them feel better than they have ever felt in their life,
for as long as they live. AMANDA HULL: We have
satisfaction questions we give and they’re anonymous. Some of
those were saying this program has saved my life, or this
program has changed my path, and I’m feeling more supported.
ROSS: So to produce the best possible health care and the
best sense of well being for our patient does reduce the time you
must spend with your patient. LAMEES KHORSHID: So it’s really
stepping back from our agenda and coming to the agenda of the
patient and saying, I’m collaborating with you. And even
in the days when you feel like you can’t keep going, I’m going
to be here to help you keep going. ROSS: The more we can
have health be a factor of the home, the better. The techniques
include using integrated methods, massage therapy and
meditation and things of that sort, which have been shown to
definitely improve the patient’s sense of well being. CHRISTINE:
They can better formulate a plan. And you can kind of see
the wheels turning and everyone’s devising their
schedule of how often they can make it in and how many services
they can attend, because they’re really feeling empowered to move
forward with their health care. ROSS: Self-help is a very key
part of taking care of any patient. He looks after his own
weight and reduces it when he sees that the blood pressure has
gone up a bit, then the pressure comes down. And when he does so,
he becomes less dependent on you as the physician caregiver and
more dependent on himself as a self-empowered caregiver. RISHI:
I got into health care, not into sick care. And what I mean by
that is I got into health care to improve health. And if
improving health means not just prescribing pills or procedures,
but, frankly, improving health where it begins, then that’s
what makes it satisfying for me as a doctor. RASHMI: And I think
taking an integrative approach, where we take the best of
Western medicine and the best of these complementary approaches,
is really the optimal way to treat patients. ROSS: As I’ve
seen patients engaged in the patient centered care approach,
their sense of well being is getting better and better and
better. I’ve heard patients say that they’ve never felt better
in their life. Now, if the VA can produce that result in
patients over and over again, then we are really on the right
track. [MUSIC]

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