Advertiser Spotlight by KATIE EUBANKS
What if your primary care physician dressed in a polo instead of a white lab coat, and spent more than two or three minutes with you in the exam room? What if when you went in for a checkup, you got a free small smoothie on your way out — along with the recipe for said smoothie?
Better yet, what if your doctor’s office focused more on prevention and less on merely treating your symptoms? And what if you could get your blood work without ever leaving your car?
This is what patients are experiencing at the BlueHealth Baptist Clinic, a primary care clinic located on the back side of the Baptist Medical Clinic on Highland Colony Parkway in Madison. BlueHealth Baptist is a partnership between Baptist Memorial Health Care and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi (BCBSMS) and serves Blue Cross & Blue Shield members.
“From the time a patient calls our call center, we want that process to look different,” said Price Davis, executive director at BlueHealth Baptist.
In addition to wellness visits, the clinic serves the whole patient, including chronic care and sick visits.
Dr. Timothy Chen and Melissa Wood, FNP-BC, are the leaders of the care team, who all share one large office “backstage,” Price said. As a patient, “you’re not being walked through the inner workings, the hustle and bustle, the phone calls, all the sticky notes. (And) there’s no waiting room.”
Instead, you’re ushered into your exam room, and whoever’s seeing you — Dr. Chen, Melissa, the lab technician — comes to you.
“We do get to spend more time with our patients,” Melissa says, “to more comprehensively go over their situation. We also get to address other things besides medication. We talk about lifestyle pillars such as nutrition, exercise, sleep, and stress.”
The clinic has offered diabetic support classes and mental health support classes, and Melissa teaches a yoga class.
“We encourage everyone to come for a yearly wellness exam (which is covered by BCBSMS),” Melissa says. “They’ll get designated time with us and a wellness coach. If they’re perfectly healthy, we’ll talk about how to keep them there. Otherwise, we’ll talk about lifestyle goals.”
“We have a big focus on prevention,” Dr. Chen said. “You hear a lot of times on the news, people go bankrupt over metabolic disease. You have a heart attack and you can’t afford it. What if we could help you never get there?
“(Some new patients) come in super motivated. They want to get off their medication,” Dr. Chen said.
Health coaches are brought in to help patients. Meal plans are created. The care team might help a patient set a small goal, such as walking for five minutes a day, five days a week. Once the patient meets that goal, they’ll set a new one.
“We’re empowering them for their own health journey, and when they come back, they’re so proud they did it,” Melissa said.
Patients also get excited when they learn things they never knew about how to manage their health, such as the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates. “They might say, ‘I’ve been a Type 1 diabetic for 20 years and didn’t know that!’” Dr. Chen said.
In addition to the comprehensive care focus, BlueHealth Baptist is also an innovation center, Price said. One of those innovations is a drive-up lab. “Within five minutes, (patients) have their labs drawn and can be on their way.”
Whether it’s efficiency, prevention, or the overall patient experience, Price said, “BlueHealth Baptist is changing the way that primary healthcare is delivered.”
For more information, visit BlueHealthBaptist.com or call 601.664.4300.