Spotlight on Our Patients
by Anthony Jay Dascenzo
Blood sugar testing is an important part of diabetes prevention and care. Here I am in the Community Room at Capital Park Family Health Center having my blood sugar level tested and ultimately being told that I am well within the healthy range for a person my age. Sweet relief!
Here I am in the reception area at Capital Park Family Health Center while being interviewed by three fantastic medical professionals from Ohio State University's Division of Internal Medicine. I freaked out when the results of my interview proved I fell within the highest-risk category for colon cancer. Yikes!
On a perfect Ohio summer Saturday last August I made my way to Capital Park Family Health Center on Innis Road in North Linden to attend The Heart of Ohio Community Health Fair. I found out my heart rate and blood pressure were terrific, my BMI was great, my blood cholesterol levels were pretty good, and finally, my risk for colon cancer was sky high. I freaked out.
Fortunately, the doctor, nurse, and medical technician from OSU Hospital's Internal Medicine Division calmed me down and gave me a great plan of action soon after I heart the bad news, and of course, overreacted. Here's what happened:
The trio first conducted a very in-depth colonoscopy-screening interview to gauge my risk factors. They asked about my family's medical history and my own history regarding diet, exercise, smoking, drinking, illnesses, and on and on. At my age, I was told, and with a family history of colorectal and intestinal cancer, and as a former smoker, even though it was decades ago, I was considered a high risk for colon cancer and highly recommended a colonoscopy, which they fully described for me and answered all my questions. I said, "Sign me up." The medical technician booked for me on her laptop right then and there.
My smart and friendly medical trio then explained everything I needed to know about colon cancer and how I could best reduce my risk.
I learned that colon cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States. About one in 20 Americans will develop colon cancer at some point during his or her lifetime. There are six basic, but vital, ways to protect my colon health:
- Eat lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and eat less red meat and processed meats, and get my fiber from food, not supplements.
- Get regular exercise.
- Watch my weight.
- Don't smoke.
- Limit my alcohol to 2 drinks a day.
- And most importantly...get screened for colon cancer.
Colon screenings can often find growths called polyps that can be removed before they turn into cancer. These tests also can find colon cancer earlier, when treatment offers the best, often excellent, cure rate.
I will always be grateful to Heart of Ohio's Capital Park Family Health Center for the excellent health fair they invited the community to attend free of charge … and to my three new friends / medical wizards from Ohio State who partnered with Heart of Ohio to help me and many others change our health and our lives for the better. That's priceless.
By the way, I had my colonoscopy 10-days later at OSU and the doctor told me I was healthy as a horse, clean as a whistle and that my intestines were those of a man half my age! He also told me that, due to my risk factors, I needed to have a colonoscopy done every five years.
Here's a story about how FollowMyHealth, every Heart of Ohio Family Health patient's online connection to his or her health care providers can help you when you need it in an emergency.
An iPhone screenshot of what pops up the first time you click on the FollowMyHealth button in the top right of any page of our web site.
What's FollowMyHealth? It's the new generation patient portal that let's you exchange private messages with your doctor, review your health history, receive lab and radiology results, search through your medical records, schedule appointments, renew prescriptions, and tackle a host of administrative tasks and access data quickly, easily and 24/7. There's even a cool app for you smart phone or tablet!
Studies show that FollowMyHealth has been enormously successful in motivating patients to take greater ownership of their health, communicate more actively with their medical team, stay on schedule and stick to their course of care, and become much more active in the management of their overall health.
FollowMyHealth can also help prevent pain and anguish. Here's the story of one patient who found herself in the middle of nowhere, in trouble and, ultimately, in awe of her savvy doctor and her FollowMyHealth iPhone app.
Her name is Evelyn and she only began using the FollowMyHealth a few weeks before this story takes place.
Evelyn and her husband, Paul, were in Nashville attending their son's wedding and, while on their drive back to Columbus, Paul noticed a terrible rash spreading rapidly across his wife's upper back. Evelyn, a nurse, examined her back in a mirror and knew immediately that she had shingles. She also knew she had to act fast.
Evelyn used her iPhone to snap a photo of her back and then used the phone to quickly log into her FollowMyHealth account. Once Evelyn linked to FollowMyHealth, she was able to send her doctor an email explaining her predicament along with the photo.
Evelyn's doctor, Pablo Hernandez, a huge fan of FollowMyHealth's suite of digital tools that keep him closely connected to his patients, called back within minutes and told Evelyn that the picture looked serious. He instructed her to start using Valtrex right away to decrease the pain and rash that was quickly escalating.
Evelyn felt helpless. She and Paul were driving along a desolate highway in the middle of nowhere, knowing full well that they wouldn't be home until late that night. Sensing her rash and pain spreading, Evelyn panicked.
Dr. Hernandez, hearing the panic in Evelyn's voice, calmly said, "Evelyn, you're going to be fine. First, tell Paul to take the next exit and then tell me exactly what the exit sign says the moment you see it."
Baffled by the doctor's instructions, Evelyn soon saw an exit sign and weakly said, "Kentucky Route 65" and then asked, "Why"?
He replied, "Don't hang up." Dr. Hernandez quickly Google searched for the pharmacy closest to Evelyn and, within two minutes found it, electronically transmitted Evelyn's prescription to the pharmacist and then used Google Maps to calmly read through the directions that guided Paul and Evelyn to the pharmacy. Her Valtrex was waiting for her as soon as she arrived.
Patient visits can't always occur in a physician's office during set hours. They can, however, always occur anywhere and anytime on FollowMyHealth. Evelyn found the medicine she urgently needed to limit her symptoms and prevent a manageable situation from getting out of control. The physician-patient encounter between Dr. Hernandez and Evelyn was made possible through digital technology — cell phones, patient portals in electronic medical records, search engines, e-prescribing, map searches and, most helpful of all, Dr. Hernandez and FollowMyHealth.