AdventHealth initiative emphasizes careful listening and a personal connection.
Published on: 12-13-2021
Ramchandra Siram is a board-certified family and geriatric medicine physician. He pursued a fellowship in geriatric medicine after a mentor encouraged him to do so. Since then, his mission in practicing medicine has been about connecting with his senior patients one-on-one. But that hasn’t always been easy.
Before joining AdventHealth, Siram worked at a family medicine clinic where office appointments were 15 minutes long, and he often found himself double-booked. Now at AdventHealth Well 65+ Celebration, he has 30- to 60-minute appointments and works closely with nurse care managers to follow up with his patients.
“There are patients I call once every day just to see how they’re doing, see how the medicines are working and how they’re improving,” he said. “I can help keep them out of the hospital.”
Unlike traditional primary care practices with large patient volumes, at AdventHealth Well 65+, a primary care practice designed specifically for adults age 65 or older or on Medicare (a national health insurance program in the United States), providers have the flexibility to schedule 12-14 appointments a day — not 25. When they’re not in an appointment, they have the time to proactively care for patients they may not necessarily see that day, checking to see who’s missing routine screenings, who needs to get their lab results, and so on.
Seniors have a wide variety of health-care needs, typically requiring greater medical attention. These needs go beyond physical care to include social determinants of health, such as the affordability of medication, and emotional and mental well-being issues, such as isolation. Well 65+ providers are encouraged to be a part of it all.
AdventHealth currently has Well 65+ locations across central Florida, United States. They include Celebration, Eustis, Ormond Beach North, Ormond Beach South, and most recently, Winter Park. The goal is to have 20 locations by 2025.
Florida, where AdventHealth is headquartered, is home to a significant retiree population. Data shows older Americans are one of the fastest-growing demographic groups in the country, with the 65+ population projected to reach 80.8 million by 2040.
Siram said his patients are usually shocked that the doctor is calling them with lab results. They express surprise at how much time they get to spend with him, being heard. And he’s not alone. He provides wholistic care with the support of an expanded team of registered nurses, social workers, health coaches, and pharmacists.
“We want to give our providers the time to do the full spectrum of what they were trained to do,” Robert Rodgers, vice president of senior care for AdventHealth, said. “Our question is, ‘How can we give better care?’ and in a way that’s higher quality, better for the patient, and less expensive. So far, Well 65+ seems to be a step in the right direction, and AdventHealth will be looking at quality indicators and patient experience scores to continue to improve patient care for seniors.”
As for Siram: “I have much more time to spend with my family than I did before,” he said.