11 Jan 2015 in Review: Birth of a House Calls Practice
Happy New Year!
Wow! I can hardly believe it’s 2016. Like most people, I find myself asking “Where has the time gone?” It honestly feels like yesterday that the tender little seed for the idea of Seva Health was planted and now, here we are a full fledge, vibrant primary care practice delivering the kind of holistic, comprehensive care we envisioned.
One thing I know for sure is that all dreams begin in the mind’s eye. This time last year we were just beginning to work with our practice design team literally on pen and paper, trying to hash out what was only idea. Our questions were simple: what are the fundamental barriers to good health? What if people actually had access to comprehensive health care at home where they are likely to feel more comfortable, more relaxed and more apt to ask the questions they may feel too embarrassed to ask in the clinic setting? As a nurse practitioner, how would my clinical practice change if I had more time to spend with my patients and their families, educating them on the basics that never seem to get covered in the average clinic? The basics like nutrition and stress reduction and lifestyle changes that impact health. What if I actually had time to offer my patients resources and not just prescriptions—would I feel more fulfilled as a professional? Would my work take on larger and deeper meanings? What if, in our design of this new practice, we used technology to really streamline the care we give, reducing the paper clutter and confusion that most medical practices are inundated with? Technologies like a smarter electronic health records systems with built in functionalities that make our work easier not harder; home based health monitoring systems for our seniors and their caregivers and video based conferencing for our patients who can safely receive health counseling over the computer without coming into a physical office? What if our house calls practice was a business model that really put work life balance first so that we’d be role models for our patients and their families? Indeed these were big questions that required big, bold thinking. It would be a completely different design of primary care.
From website design to marketing materials and branding, we set about the hard “birthing” work of making Seva Health a reality. With very little advertising but lots of support from community partners, former patients, friends, neighbors and colleagues, we turned on our phone lines in April 2015 and celebrated our first patient just a few weeks later.
Word travels quickly. By July 2015 our small staff was busy with calls coming in from assisted living centers looking for reliable, in-home primary care for their elderly residents. We received an inquiry from a local high school athletics director looking to simplify the spring sports physicals for his student athletes by having an on-site Student Physical Day. We received invitations to participate in several local farmer’s markets and had the pleasure of sharing our mobile health library filled with free information with market patrons. Through our presence at the farmer’s markets we received the invitation to design and deliver a health education curriculum for the residents of the Wabash Estates Senior Housing Co-op (Baltimore MD) that would focus solely on disease prevention.
Our vision of embedding nurse practitioners within communities in a way that truly enables health promotion and patient engagement was finally taking hold.
As our house calls practice grew, we knew we needed to grow with it. In Fall 2015 we celebrated the purchase of our first company vehicle which now enables us to offer additional screening services and tests for our patients — all in the home.
We wrapped up our year by spending time on air at BLIS.fm with co-hosts Dr. Vicki Reese and Mr. Antoine Brooks talking about the value of house calls not only for seniors but for anyone looking for a more holistic, patient centered approach to maintaining good health. You can download the episode by clicking HERE
True to our guiding principle of not only improving access to health care but improving the way care is given, Seva, which means ‘to serve,’ is now a staple in the community and beyond. Using smarter technologies we’re now providing healthy lifestyle and ‘self care’ video coaching for clients as far away as California. For those looking for that extra support to modify lifestyles, gain better work-life balance, develop stronger self care tools for stress management, we’re here.
2016 looks equally promising. Stay tuned for coming announcements about several new initiatives we plan to ‘birth’ this spring!
Yours in good health,