Upgrading to better patient care
The Baker Street Professional Centre is looking to offer a continuity of care
Better patient care and better doctor care were the two big reasons behind the opening of two new medical clinics—Fisher Peak Family Practice and the F.W. Green Clinic in the Baker Street Professional Centre, formerly the Giant Tiger store, in Cranbrook, B.C.
The old F.W. Green Medical Clinic on the eastern end of Baker Street needed more than just a band-aid renovation. Patients with mobility issues had difficulty climbing the stairs to see their doctors or the doctors had to meet them downstairs instead. Installing an elevator would have cost at least $100,000, and the doctors would still have been left with an older building in need of many other upgrades.
The large group of doctors at the old clinic realized that their group was just too big to handle.
Dr. Kathryn Wentworth, with Fisher Peak Family Practice, said, “We had a dream of what we wanted, and it was hard to do with 16 people.”
Dr. Greg Andreas of the new Green Clinic had similar thoughts. By splitting, he said, the two groups had the opportunity to add more people; his clinic has since recruited Dr. Karen Fordham as a new general practitioner.
Clinics now open
The new clinics opened at the end of July. Patients benefit from the facility being on city bus routes and from the large parking lot with its many handicapped parking spaces. If patients are on crutches or have other mobility issues, the automatic doors into the building are helpful, as well as the fact that the clinics are all on one floor.
Both clinics boast large, comfortable waiting rooms, accessible bathrooms and wide corridors to easily accommodate wheelchairs.
State-of-the-art exam rooms
Doctors at both clinics also proudly showed off their state-of-the-art exam rooms.
Dr. Wentworth said her group studied the Mayo Clinic’s model for the ideal exam room and even visited 10 clinics in the region to seek advice. For example, beds are at an angle for easy accessibility. The computer screens are situated so that doctors never have their backs to patients.
The Fisher Peak clinic also has new BpTru brand blood pressure cuffs. Instead of just one reading, these cuffs take a series of readings and therefore are more accurate. They help to avoid white coat syndrome, when patients record elevated blood pressure readings only when they are anxiously sitting in a doctor’s office.
In the Green Clinic, the 13 exam rooms are arranged in a horseshoe pattern for easy flow and access. Computers inside the rooms allow doctors to show records to the patients and computers just outside the rooms allow doctors to update their own records before seeing their patients, promoting greater efficiency. Mechanized beds also make it easier for patients with mobility issues.
Yet another benefit to patients of the new location is that Pharmasave is opening a new branch of its pharmacy in October in the Baker Street Professional Centre. Soon an X-ray unit will be moved over to the new facility as well.
Dr. Andreas said the physicians are hopeful that they will also be able to recruit a medical lab to the professional centre.
More comfort for the doctors
Doctors at both clinics spoke of the advantages to themselves, too, including roomy desk areas for each doctor and relaxing and airy staff rooms. The Fisher Peak clinic put in a shower in the staff area to encourage doctors to take care of themselves by exercising—biking to work or taking yoga, for example—and then being able to shower before starting work.
Dr. Andreas talked about the greater efficiencies that allow some of the doctors to add a few new patients.
“When the capacity exists, the physicians accept new patients into their practices,” he said.
The Green Clinic is collecting a database of potential patients (go to fwgreenclinic.com and click on New Patient Information). Dr. Wentworth went from part time to full time and added new patients as well.
Cohesive and committed
Dr. Wentworth said she appreciates the integrated health care that comes about because all the doctors in her clinic work together.
“We are so cohesive and committed,” she said.
All the doctors are within a few years of each other in age, she said, and they’ve all committed to being in this practice together for the next 10 years.
Dr. Deon Van Rensburg, another physician at the Fisher Peak clinic, explained how difficult it was to get locums (outside doctors who fill in temporarily for the doctors) but now with only six doctors in his clinic, they don’t need locums.
“We can cover for each other,” he said. “We are getting to know each other as well as each others’ patients.”
All these efficiencies and benefits lead to a continuity of care. Patients experience a continuous, caring relationship with a doctor or a team of providers over time.
“It’s very exciting to see a dream come to fruition,” said Dr. Wentworth. “It’s been overwhelming.”
Dr. Andreas had similar feelings.
“It has been about saying goodbye to a lot we had gotten used to … (but the result is) the opening of a fantastic new clinic building … and the opportunity to realize more from our staff, physicians, and our community.”
New Dawn Developments of Cranbrook carried out the renovations to create the new professional centre.