The most important member of the care team

patient at the center of healthcare
author apree health

Authored in collaboration with Dr. Amanda Brender, Medical Director of Care Deliver at apree health

At apree health, we place an emphasis on the care team as a collective group surrounding the member for better health. It includes the primary care physician, health coaches, behavioral health clinicians, diabetes educator and others.  But there is one person on the care team, placed above all else. Like all of apree health’s clinicians, Dr. Amanda Brender champions a philosophy that places patients at the forefront of their own health journey, as the key member of the care team. At the core of her practice lies a fundamental belief: patients are not just recipients of care, but active participants in shaping their treatment plans. 

Imagine stepping into Dr. Brender’s office. Instead of a one-sided exchange where the physician dictates the course of action, you find yourself welcomed into a collaborative dialogue. Here, your voice matters as much as any medical expertise. Dr. Brender’s approach centers on co-creating what she terms “The Patient Plan” – a roadmap tailored to your unique needs, preferences, and aspirations.

Dr. Brender’s patient visits resemble an upside-down pyramid, starting broad and gradually narrowing focus. Listening lies at its foundation—a skill honed through open-ended questions and attentive silence. Asking broad questions like “What brings you in today?” initiates the conversation, allowing patients to share their perspectives and recalling personal details from previous encounters fosters rapport and sets the stage for meaningful dialogue. From the moment you begin to share your story, Dr. Brender’s attentive listening sets the stage for mutual understanding. Every detail you offer, whether it’s a concern, a past experience, or a personal preference, becomes a vital piece of the puzzle. 

Crucially, Dr. Brender doesn’t stop at understanding your needs – she actively involves you in crafting solutions. When discussing treatment options, she presents a spectrum of possibilities, from medications to lifestyle adjustments, and everything in between. Rather than prescribing a one-size-fits-all solution, she encourages dialogue, weighing the pros and cons of each approach in the context of your life.

Let’s consider an example: tackling depression. The treatment options are varied, ranging from medication to therapy and lifestyle changes. But what works for one may not work for another. By engaging in open dialogue, Dr. Brender and you explore each avenue, weighing the pros and cons, aligning with your goals, and acknowledging your concerns for taking medications or missing work for therapy sessions. Dr. Brender and you work to create a Plan A and a Plan B and put a follow up visit on the books so that if it isn’t working, the patient can feel assured, there’s another path and their concerns will not go unattended. 

For Dr. Brender and all apree health clinicians, the patient isn’t just a recipient of care – they’re an integral member of the healthcare team. By empowering patients to actively participate in their own care, Dr. Brender cultivates a culture of collaboration, compassion, and trust. Together, patient and physician can work towards better health – one conversation at a time.

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