Friday, October 13, 2017

#theVIPExperience Post #32: Cornelius Kish

Being an intern at Crossroad Health Center has been an eye opening experience for me and has given me valuable insight into the healthcare system. As someone who grew up in an underserved environment and plans on working with the underserved, Crossroad provides a great opportunity to gain experience with this community. When I first applied for the internship at Crossroad I had no idea what to expect from the program, as I had no prior experience aside from shadowing, but every shift I am thankful for the opportunity to make a difference.

When I began working at Crossroad my view on the healthcare system was solely based off the physician-patient interaction that I had seen from shadowing. However, as the months have passed, I have realized how important following up and scheduling is to the maintenance of patient healthcare. Crossroad VIP’s play an important role in this process by helping to relieve some of the burden for patients through handling referrals.  Without the help of VIP’s following up, some patients would not be seen and get the help that they need. Along with making a positive impact on the community, Crossroad has allowed me to develop my patient communication skills and learn how to utilize programs like Athena and NextGen, which are experiences normally not seen during shadowing.

I am grateful for the experiences I have had during my time interning at Crossroad. Throughout my time I have learned a lot about the healthcare system and how much of a necessity healthcare is in underserved communities. I look forward to the new learning experiences in my following rotations and making an impact in the community that Crossroad serves as well as utilizing these lessons in my future with medicine.

                                                                                                                  -- CJ Kish     

Thursday, October 5, 2017

#theVIPExperience Post #31: Chandler Hutchinson

What does the city of Cincinnati mean to you? Is it your starting place, your home?  Where you work? A part of your destination? Through my experience, Cincinnati is all those things. Specifically, Crossroad Health Center is my starting place, my work, and a part of my destination. The last nine months I have spent working here has dramatically challenged me and my perspective on healthcare and, as an upcoming provider, how I would approach treating patients.

When considering working in medicine, I pictured a clean room full of mostly smiling, well dressed patients who were patched up and sent along their way. While this is a nice picture of what working in healthcare may look like, it is mostly far from true. My first few weeks at Crossroad, I encountered patients who were struggling to receive proper nutrition, families who didn’t know if they could afford to bring both children to the doctor this month. In listening to those situations, I was challenged to change how I viewed a provider handled patients. The saying goes, “Good physicians treat the disease, but great physicians treat the patient, “ and I never fully understood that until working at Crossroad. Patients aren’t just treated and discharged here, but rather comforted, encouraged, and counseled. The whole person is treated, not just the illness.

My desire has always been to work in medicine. Crossroad has been a place of work where I found out how medicine operates. It has been my starting place. Not only has it given me experience in the healthcare setting, but it has molded my thinking. Upon becoming a healthcare provider, I desire to carry on what Crossroad has taught me: to treat patients as a whole person and not just a list of symptoms. Since the first few weeks, the latter has held true. The principle of treating the whole person has continued to be upheld by the entirety of the staff, and because of that, Crossroad will always be a part of me and my destination.

                                                                                               -- Chandler Hutchinson

#theVIPExperience Post #30: Andrew Snider

My view on health is that it is undoubtedly one of the greatest determinants of one’s quality of life. So much in life is centered around our health: our jobs, our educations, our relationships, and so much more. Negative health can break any socioeconomic barrier in its destructive effect, as no person can be superior to bad health. Any possible efforts toward preserving or improving personal health should be made, so that we can live with the highest quality of life attainable.

I know that my role at Crossroad is vital for those reasons. Helping these underserved members of our community regain health is absolutely massive to rebuilding the community. While scheduling referrals seems like such a simple task on the surface level, it really is so much deeper than it appears. Without knowing it, your decision to enter their life and help them set something up that could have simply been ignored otherwise can affect so much. These people may not have the time, resources, or ability to set up their own appointments, and while it seems that we only make a few calls, there really is so much more.

The interest they show when you offer to help. The gratitude shown when you’ve let them know you’ve accomplished your task. The warmth shown when you’ve actually treated them as a person in a world where so many are simply a number. The feeling of satisfaction knowing you’ve improved a life, even if in the slightest way. All of these are not necessarily explicitly advertised, but certainly no less valuable than anything else to take away from being a VIP.

There’s so much that separates us in this world, and I certainly can’t claim to fully understand the lives of those I’m serving. But this shared element of humanism in this fleeting interaction makes it all worth it.

My role as a Crossroad VIP is valuable to me for those reasons and so many more. The human element, the widening of perspectives, the deeper understanding of the healthcare system, the teamwork needed, and just the feeling of making a difference in this world are all tremendously important to me. I’ve loved my time working here so far and can’t wait to keep experiencing all this role has to offer.

                                                                                                       -- Andrew Snider

Thursday, September 28, 2017

#theVIPExperience Post #29: Farhan Ilyas

I started my first Crossroad VIP rotation during the previous summer. When going in, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I knew that I would be helping patients with referral appointments, but I did not know how I would go about this.

Because I was out of town, I started my rotation a few weeks after the other VIPs. When I finally arrived, I was greeted with many friendly faces, but also a computer program called “NextGen” that carried a terribly intimidating amount of information. Over the next few weeks, I learned how to navigate this program and how to document my patient interactions. I would call patients and physician offices and document my calls. I also used the program to recover important information to give to the patients or information needed to schedule appointments. Ultimately, the program gave insight to how health records are kept. I was able to see how physicians document their notes and referrals, I was able to see how the health records upheld HIPAA guidelines and I was able to see how important it was to keep precise patient records. Later on, we shifted to a new system called “AthenaHealth”. When this happened, I got a look into different ways that healthcare documents are kept and I was able to problem solve through the new system.

I used my newfound knowledge of healthcare recording programs to accomplish my main goal at Crossroad: to schedule referral appointments. In simple terms, this meant calling a patient, getting their availability, then calling a physician’s office to schedule an appointment and finally ending when the patient was informed of the appointment. While doing this, I became aware of many of the problems in our current healthcare system. For starters, some patients have to wait a ridiculously long period of time for their specialist appointments. In addition, some patients are extremely difficult to get appointments for because of their insurance. It’s heartbreaking to tell a patient that the appointment they want made as soon as possible can only be made four months away. This is especially hard when the wait is half as long at a different office, but that office won’t accept the patient because of their insurance. This opened my eyes to problems that underprivileged people may have when navigating healthcare. From this, I can see how possible it would be for people in low economic areas to receive less than stellar medical attention.

My time at Crossroad has taught me a lot on how healthcare operates. From this, I have seen how a primary care physician’s office operates and I have seen first hand how healthcare can be unfair to underprivileged people. I hope that I continue to learn from my experience as I finish my second rotation. I am extremely satisfied with my time at Crossroad because I know that when I am able to navigate confusing healthcare systems to get a patient to a specialist, I am making a difference in that patient’s health.

-- Farhan Ilyas

#theVIPExperience Post #28: Akhil Kavuri

My experience at Crossroad has allowed me to see healthcare in a new light. My experience, as with most undergraduate students interested in healthcare, has centered around shadowing physicians in medical offices and hospitals located in suburban settings. While there is a lot to learn from these experiences, these experiences alone can distort the reality of healthcare. Future healthcare providers should be open to treating and managing the health of patients of all backgrounds, especially including all socioeconomic backgrounds. I would argue that restricting our shadowing and healthcare experience to areas where a majority of patients are middle to upper class creates an unrealistic expectation for us as future healthcare professionals.

Without experiencing the health issues of areas where patients don’t always have easy access to emergency rooms or preventative health care, we create an expectation that patients always have the ability to seek help when they need it. The patients at Crossroad have opened my eyes to the need for better healthcare options that exists in underserved areas such as OTR.  The obstacles that clinics have to overcome has not only shocked me but amazed me as well. But it’s worth it because the effort we put forward as volunteers, nurses, MAs, and providers is reciprocated by the gratitude of our patients.

For me, this has been the first healthcare experience where I am actively making a difference in the lives of our patients. Crossroad has given me the opportunity to be part of team who is working to slowly change the overall of health of our community. Even though I have a lot more to learn about patient care, and health management, I have been able to get my feet wet. I have been able to regularly practice my communication skills with patients, which is an opportunity that is not readily available as an undergraduate student. I have learned about the documentation process, helped patients in the clinic, and shadowed physicians.

The amount of caring individuals that work at Crossroad is hard to find anywhere, let alone in a healthcare setting. I am grateful for my experience at Crossroad, and hope to learn more as I finish my second rotation and move into my third. I would recommend anyone to become a volunteer at Crossroad but I would especially encourage any students who are interested in the medical field. I think you should expand beyond just shadowing and immerse yourself in the clinical experience. I challenge my fellow students to find opportunities like Crossroad (though they are pretty rare) where you can work with others to create a difference in the health of your community. Because ultimately, being a VIP at Crossroad is not just about shadowing or scheduling referrals. It is about accepting our responsibility to create opportunities for people to manage and improve their health.  

                                                                                                            -- Akhil Kavuri