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How Team-Based Primary Care Can Improve Your Health

At Iora, a team-based approach means that a provider, Health Coach, nurse and operations assistants all work together to empower the patient to live happier and healthier lives. Each one plays an important role in supporting a patient on their healthcare journey, coordinating around the person. A team-based approach coupled with a great primary care provider can make all the difference. Indeed, it has made all the difference for a current Iora Primary Care patient.

Meet James, an Iora patient who came to us with uncontrolled diabetes

Before Iora Primary Care, James received his medical care at a well-regarded local clinic where he had not had any lack of good “standard” medical care.

When James came to Iora in April of 2015, his diabetes was not managed – his A1C was 9.5. A1C is the average measurement of blood sugar over the past 2-3 months measured by a blood draw; a typical A1C goal for diabetics is below 7. He weighed 270 pounds and his blood pressure was high at 182/91. Diabetics typically strive for a blood pressure of 140/90 or under.

Changing with the Iora team’s support

With the encouragement of the entire Iora team, James started to make some changes in his life – starting with checking his International Normalized Ratio (INR) (an important measure of how long it takes for  blood to clot), regularly with the Iora team nurse.

Checking your INR regularly, especially when starting/taking blood-thinning medication, is important. In James’s case, he started to check in every 1-2  weeks. During each appointment, his nurse took the opportunity to really get to know him, encouraging him to be more active and providing options like participating in the group fitness classes held at the practice.

The check-ins continued with James’s Health Coach. He met with his Health Coach to talk about weight loss and to put a larger care plan together. These appointments would rotate between talking about weight loss with his Health Coach and then include his nurse to learn about blood pressure. His Health Coach and nurse were able to teach James things like how to use his blood pressure machine at home.

Celebrating the win

With goals in place, James and his team tracked results and celebrated wins. Over the next two years, James increased his walking to three miles, three days a week, ate (mostly) a plant-based diet, and took his pills and insulin regularly. These improvements happened in small increments, with many conversations between him and his team.

Jump to today

James came in for a visit the other day, his weight was down to 243 ( from 270), his A1C was 6.2 (down from 9.5), and his systolic blood pressure was 123 (down from 182). He looks and feels great, and has even started growing his own vegetables and fruit!

A team-based approach made all the difference for James.

Due to James’ success, his care team asked to talk to him and learn more about his perspective on his health care journey. Read this update in the next Live Better Blog.

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