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We’re All Patients – It’s Why What We Do Matters So Much

Posted on Feb 23, 2017 by Lea Chatham

    Lea Chatham, Solutionreach Director of Content Marketing and Editor of the Solutionreach blog, is also a patient who benefits from appointment reminders.A few weeks ago, I joined Solutionreach as the Director of Content Marketing and Editor of the Solutionreach Blog. I’ve been thinking a lot about how to introduce myself to our customers and all the independent practices that follow us.

    I’ve worked in healthcare and healthcare IT for a long time—a very, very long time! But I am more than an educator or marketer. I am also a mom, a wife, a daughter, and friend. And, like most of you, a patient.

    My work in healthcare has often influenced my decisions as a patient. I am certainly a more assertive advocate for myself and my family because of all I have learned. But more than that, my life as a patient has influenced my job.

    It isn’t the only thing that I consider, but it absolutely plays a role. When I was offered my position at Solutionreach one of the things that appealed to me the most was their uncompromising dedication to constant innovation in improving the patient/provider relationship. Look at any aspect of patient relationship management, and Solutionreach has answers, options, tools. And, I know how those things can make a difference.

    I know because I am not just your average everyday healthcare user. I am a patient with a chronic health condition that requires regular blood tests, ongoing treatments, and lots of doctors appointments each year. I do my best to keep up with everything and make all my appointments, but it isn’t always easy. And, one missed appointment can have big consequences.

    I learned firsthand last year how big those consequences can be. Somehow, I forgot to add a treatment appointment to my calendar. I am guessing that silly little reminder card slid down and got mixed in with the little girl hairbands and old nuts and candy that live in the nooks and crannies of my huge mom purse. Needless to say, my appointment day came and I got a call saying, “hey, just calling to say you missed your appointment today.” Yikes! We rescheduled for a few days later. Whew!

    As I was driving to the appointment, I got a call on my cell phone from patient financial services. They told me I couldn’t come in because my pre-authorization period had ended the day before, and I wouldn’t be covered. “How long will it take to renew?” I asked. “Oh, a week or two,” she answered. Double yikes! The treatment has to maintain a certain blood level to be effective. Every extra week missed is a bad thing. “Is there anything you can do to speed it up,” I asked. “Nope,” she said.

    Well, I had a tough couple weeks and learned some important lessons. Reminders matter. When you don’t get one, it can really ruin your day. And it isn’t because the practice doesn’t want to help; they simply don’t have the resources. Of course, my recent advice to them was, “Get some automation to help you with reminders!”

    This experience is one of the reasons I joined the team at Solutionreach. Every day, they are helping practices help patients. And because I am a patient, I know what the real life impact of that can be.

    Lea Chatham

    Lea Chatham

    Lea Chatham is the Director of Content Marketing at Solutionreach and the editor of the SR Health blog. She develops educational resources to help healthcare organizations improve patient engagement. Her work has been published in many leading journals including Physicians Practice and Medical Economics and she has presented webinars for industry groups like MGMA.

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