If you've been in the office in the past year you've seen a lot of different faces. I want to use this post to introduce you to the fabulous team of Medical Assistants working on the BrookeMD team now. Meet Meghan, Keara, Nicole and Brittney. You will see all four of these smiling faces at different times as you come in and out of the office. Don't be alarmed - we're not having that much turnover! But, I have implemented a new way of rotating job duties within our office rather than the traditional way tasks are divided between employees in a medical office. Instead of training 1 individual to work on the phones, 1 at the front desk, 1 clinical nurse to work in the back of the clinic, etc... we've found it works much better for us and our patients to use medical assistants for all of these roles and rotate them from week to week. So each of my MAs are now trained to work in the front of the office (scheduling appointments, answering phones, working the front reception desk) and the clinical area of the office (guiding you to your rooms, taking vital signs, performing tests, giving injections) and assisting with refills and referrals. It's many different roles that these ladies have been trained in and are performing with expertise. But, I have noticed that it seems to be throwing some of our guests off when they come week to week and see someone different sitting at the front reception desk to greet them or call them back to their room. Hopefully this helps explain why. And you will see the advantage when you call or enter our office now and you are greeted by a fantastic Medical Assistant that can assist you with whatever you might need help with that day. We will take care of it for you!
Last week I launched Project Revive for myself, staff and patients. You can read about it here. The vision for Project Revive began many months ago while questioning if staying in the medical business was going to work for my husband and I who were struggling to match how we were spending our time with our true life priorities.
Just today, I read a quote from John Kim, CEO of GaN in Huntsville, AL and recent award winner of the Russell G Brown Executive Leadership Award from the Huntsville Chamber of Commerce. He said "Define success not in monetary measures but in quality of life, for you, your employees and your community. Once you realize that what matters is the quality of life and not the monetary means, your business will make more sense and you will enjoy life more. The only failure in life is not going for it. Go, do great things, and enjoy the experience of the business. Embrace it as life's opportunity and do it with passion."
This is exactly what Project Revive is all about - restoring a balance of life to not only myself and family but also extending that to my staff, making BrookeMD a place where physical, emotional and spiritual health is fostered. And thus, extending that culture to our patients as well. One component of Project Revive that we have implemented immediately is a daily prayer with my morning meeting with the staff to start our day. It's a simple addition to our morning routine that sets our minds on the task at hand, reminds us of the true Healer and our job to show His compassion to our community of patients. We seek wisdom in taking care of all of you. We seek a spirit of respect towards our coworkers and guests. We are reviving ourselves to our true purpose one small step at a time and using Project Revive as our platform to intentionally commit to making that happen. Join us! I'll keep you updated as more events that are described here unfold.
It’s been almost 3 years since I last posted on my blog. Three years ago, I became a partner at Gleneagles Family Medicine. Shortly after, our senior partner retired leaving Dr. Carter and I as co-partners. I found out Dr. Howard was leaving 1 week before I delivered my 2nd child, Jackson and 1 month before we launched our new optional Concierge program for a small subset of our patients. I’ve taken half of Dr. Howard’s patients into my practice which is now 2500 patients in size and receive applications daily for new patients desiring to join. In the past 3 years, we have replaced all but 2 of our past employees meaning I have reviewed over 600 resumes, conducted many interviews and trained 8 new Medical Assistants. We have hired 3 new Nurse Practitioners. We have remodeled the office allowing for more patient rooms and an updated front lobby. All of this while continuing to care for about 5500 patients within our office. And care for them well – we’re now part of the NCQA Diabetes Recognition Program for example. Personally, my husband and I moved to our new house about 3 years ago. We have devoted our “non-work” time to Claire who is now 4 and Jackson, now 2. I have outsourced every imaginable house-work task. I recently exercised for the first real time since Jackson was born and my calves are still angry with me. Blogging just hasn’t made it to the top of my action items in Evernote. But, at the office we now have a fantastic staff and recently, divided the staff for each doctor to have their own dedicated team. My practice is now BrookeMD at Gleneagles Family Medicine and BrookeMD is on a path to transformation!
I love what I do. It is a beautiful service to provide care to patients in the unique relationship developed between all of my patients and myself. I love to do what I do well, exceptionally in fact. This places me in a tough situation given the horrendous mess our health care system is in now. I could write the rest of this blog on my own daily challenges within our health care system. Given how depressing that would be, I have decided to dedicate this blog with 2 purposes in mind.
Malcolm Gladwell was recently interviewed by Eric Topol, MD on Medscape. He notes how poor of a job the medical profession has done at telling their story of healthcare. I agree there is a huge disconnect between what my patients seem to think I do as a doctor and what I am actually doing. In a profession where patient confidentiality is a sacred rule, the story of our profession, our struggles our triumphs and our day to day lives have been lost-except when misrepresented by fictional characters on tv shows. My first purpose is to simply share more of the story of BrookeMD with my patients. I’d like for you to have more of an understanding of why we have changed your flow through the office, why you are asked to complete paperwork periodically, why we are implementing the Medicare Chronic Care Management Program or why I use Nurse Practitioners. This blog won’t be for everyone, but it is for you, my patients, to bridge the gap of understanding to explain why we are doing what we do in your medical home.
The 2nd purpose is to allow you to come with me on my BrookeMD Transformation. I see daily the results of people living their lives devoted to their jobs, slaves to their material possessions, connected completely to their digital devices all while their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health are neglected to the point of severe medical conditions. People in America are exhausted. We can’t seem to let go of the escapism of our technology and the search for more power and money. It is a hopeless feeling to treat a person for their uncontrolled diabetes by adding more medication that they cannot afford but believe that their insurance company should pay for anyway all while they continue to not make lifestyle changes to control their diabetes themselves. I will burn out if that’s really what I am spending my medical profession doing because it doesn’t work, it’s hopeless. The health in our country is evidence to that. So I am transforming myself personally and professionally to not get sucked in to the health care system as it is, to make BrookeMD a place where myself and my employees can live healthy balanced lives while providing service to our patients and to provide for you all what you really need to improve your health and your lives. This is true reformation of healthcare in my small microcosm of BrookeMD. Stay tuned and we will transform our health and your medical home together.
Brooke Uptagrafft, MD
Dr. Brooke is a family medicine doctor.