It was like clock work. Jim saw his doctor every six months. And each time, Jim left with the same set of orders. "Jim had been seeing his physician for the same illness for three years, but he never followed up with the specialists and tests that his physician recommended," says Brenda Martinelli, access center patient navigator. "So, he wasn't getting better."
All that changed when Jim was referred to the Patient Navigation Program. That's where he met Brenda. While speaking with Jim, she learned that he worked six days a week. And, much of his time was spent on the road where there is little opportunity to coordinate several medical appointments.
"Jim was relieved that we could schedule all of his appointments on his day off, and his doctor was thrilled to see the results of Jim's tests," says Brenda. "Jim continues to call when he needs help. It's exciting to be part of a service that has such an impact on patient care," says Brenda.
"The Access Center staff helps patients like Jim get access to care when and where they need it, and with a doctor who takes their insurance," says Stephanie Filer, access center patient navigator.
In fact, over the past several months, what used to be the Virtua Call Center has evolved into a full-service Access Center that provides patient navigation, physician appointments and scheduling. New technology, enhanced staff training that includes a patient navigator certification program, and the addition of clinical staff has enabled the team to help patients in more ways.
"Also, thanks to a new customer relationship management system, a navigator can schedule or change any patient appointment at any Virtua location including Virtua Medical Group's primary care physicians' offices," says Angie Collins, Access Center manager.
All of these changes lead to one thing - a better patient experience. "Working for a hospital, it's easy to forget how difficult it can be to navigate the healthcare system," says Stephanie. "With our help, patients can easily get the care they need."