Plan Your Care: CIGC Patient Advocacy Program
2021 is here and it’s time to plan your GYN care and start the new year off with a focus on better health
During a recent Facebook Live event, CIGC Director of Education and Community Outreach Nilofar Kazi led a discussion with CIGC’s Nurse Practitioner Abayomi Walker and CIGC’s Patient Advocate Mimi Zaw-Pham about what to expect from your initial consultation with The Center for Innovative GYN Care.
Patient Relations Coordinators Are Here for You
At CIGC, our patient relations coordinators walk patients through the entire process and answer any and all questions along the way. Your journey to better GYN health starts with a phone conversation with a patient relations coordinator, who will provide information and resources, help you understand your insurance benefits and ensure you have everything you need before your consultation with a specialist.
“We really get to know our patients,” Zaw-Pham said. “Some of our patients even become our friends throughout the process because it doesn’t end with setting up a consultation. Even in post-operative care, we’re always there for them.”
One of the common concerns that comes up during an initial conversation is the fear of the unknown. Many people are not sure what to expect from a surgical procedure to treat a gynecological condition. The point of a consultation with a specialist at CIGC is to get those questions and concerns answered. Agreeing to a consultation is not the same as agreeing to a surgical procedure. The consultation gives you the opportunity to become better informed about your health and the treatment options available to you.
As a patient advocate, Zaw-Pham helps patients to understand exactly what they’ll be getting from their consultation with a surgical specialist. The main question that needs to be answered is: Is surgery right for you?
There’s a lot of misinformation out there,” Zaw-Pham said.
Our goal is to explain our techniques and what our physicians do so that you know there are other options out there.”
Fear of the Unknown May Lead to Delay in Care
A consultation is the time to bring your concerns about your condition or about surgery in general to an expert. In many cases, unanswered questions and a fear of the unknown can lead to a delay in care, which can make conditions like fibroids and endometriosis worse over time.
CIGC’s research team collected responses about delay of care for our Women’s Health Survey last year. We wanted to know more about the patient decision-making process in the management of gynecological decisions. Almost half of respondents with fibroids said their doctor had recommended a “watch and wait” approach, which led to a significant delay in care. Of those respondents, 80% said their symptoms got worse during the “watch and wait” period.
“The ‘watch and wait’ period is essentially a delay in care,” Kazi said. “For conditions like fibroids and endometriosis, especially for fertility patients, time is truly of the essence.”
Understanding the Recovery Process
Before considering surgery for their condition, many patients want some insight into the post-operative process so they can understand what to expect from their recovery. It’s important to recognize that everyone’s recovery will be different. Downtime after surgery often depends on the severity of the condition and the extent of the surgery, even when it is performed minimally invasively.
Walker guides patients through what they can expect from post-operative recovery while helping them to manage expectations of their own recoveries. She’s a valuable resource for patients both before and after surgery, fielding phone calls and answering patients’ urgent questions about what is and isn’t normal.
“Google might tell you: on day 7 of recovery, you should be able to do five cartwheels,” Walker said. “If they can’t do any cartwheels, then we might get a phone call from them saying, ‘I can’t do any cartwheels! What’s wrong with me?’ Nothing’s wrong with you. I don’t expect you to be able to do cartwheels.”
Just as you shouldn’t compare your health experience to anyone else, you also shouldn’t compare your recovery to anyone. Recovery is a healing process.
“What happens to you on day 4 might be different from what happens to someone else on day 4,” Walker said. “That’s normal.”
Your First Consultation: Discovery and Planning
Before your consultation, CIGC’s patient relations coordinators will ensure you have everything you need to take full advantage of your first conversation with a specialist. The goal of the first consultation is discovery and planning. Our specialists need as much information as possible about your condition in order to recommend the appropriate treatment.
Zaw-Pham will usually ask for previous scans and medical records that she can pass along to the specialists. These records provide the clearest picture of where you are currently in your diagnosis and treatment. They enable our physicians to better understand your case and provide a more thorough evaluation of your symptoms, condition and any test results.
Even if you decide not to move forward with treatment from CIGC, the goal of the consultation is to give you the information you need to become an advocate for your own health.
Getting Care during COVID-19
It’s important not to put treatment for a serious GYN condition on hold — even during a pandemic. At CIGC, we’re offering the option of in-person or telemedicine consultations and we’ve implemented enhanced safety precautions in our clinics, including:
- Screening for symptoms among patients and staff
- Limiting the number of people allowed in our center at one time
- Putting rigorous disinfection protocols in place
- Encouraging social distancing and limited contact with surfaces
- Requiring all staff, patients and visitors to wear masks at all times
All CIGC procedures are performed at ambulatory surgery centers (ASC), not hospitals. With the emerging backlog of delayed surgeries at area hospitals, CIGC patients can get scheduled at an ASC in just a few weeks.
Don’t let COVID-19 delay your care.
Talk to a patient relations coordiantor about your options today.
Bypass the Backlog
Call us at 888-787-4379
Watch the whole recording here
Our Last Live Event: Endometriosis Mythbusters Part 2
Did you miss our last Facebook Live event?
Due to popular demand, CIGC Director of Education and Community Outreach Nilofar Kazi joined CIGC co-founder and surgeon Dr. Natalya Danilyants as they debunk even more endometriosis myths and misconceptions