Part of OC

Let me tell you the first few months at OrthoCarolina passed by in a blur. On one hand I was focused on adapting to the lifestyle of working from 8 to 5 and on the other I was trying to keep up with my med-school goals. It was harder than I expected to graduate from college and enter the real world even though I was lucky that Charlotte was partly familiar to me and I was living with a friend.  The first few days on the job consisted of learning and remembering different passwords, protocols, benefits and a lot of terms I was unfamiliar with: Vanguard? What’s that? At home, I would research anything I didn’t know or, you know, asked my mother what they were talking about.  Every opportunity is a learning opportunity!

Part of OC

The first few weeks, I was sharing the office with my supervisor Carole, the VP of Clinical Operations.  Carole was amazing and would answer any questions I had and directed me to the people I needed to talk to in order to further along my project. She also took her time to get to know me and told me jaw-dropping stories of when she was training to be a nurse.  I have a feeling I will be looking back to her anecdotal stories when I am a medical student. Throughout the week, Carole kept sending emails left and right “introducing” me to people, which was a strange concept to me at first since I never actually met them until later. Finally, I got to meet someone new face-to-face: Susan from the OrthoCarolina Research Institute came to talk about helping me with the research component of my project. That same day, we all met with Dr. Murrey to talk about my purpose at OrthoCarolina.  I was a little nervous at first, but once the discussion started flowing I forgot all about it. I left Dr. Murrey’s office energized and ready to jump into developing this tool, but had to stop myself because that first required a lot of reading to get comfortable with the topic.

Part of OC

OrthoCarolina is committed to providing excellent care and service. They are constantly working on ways to make healthcare more affordable, understandable and tailored around the patient needs.  My project has to do with the latter. When a patient walks through the doors, they carry a certain set of expectations and needs. Satisfaction surveys give us more information on the service provided, but sometimes does not reflect the subjective needs of the patients that were not met. For example, a patient is glad the wait long to see the doctor was short, but felt they did not get enough information on how to minimize pain. When a patient is dissatisfied they might not comply with treatment or turn to alternative medicine and other providers to try and satisfy their unmet needs. Either way, a patients’ health could be compromised and lead to increased costs of care for patients. The purpose of my project is to develop a tool that will help identify the needs of patients and what they are expecting to receive from an appointment. Using this tool we hope to not only improve the patient experience and tailor the appointment to the individual, but hopefully make an encounter more effective and efficient. In other words, we are tackling that burning question in healthcare, what makes a patient feel healed?

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