August 2, 2023

Health Plan Coordinators: Making An Impact

We sat down with Health Plan Coordinator Program Manager Emma Bolton to see how HPCs are having a direct impact on the lives of both Satori’s patients and practitioners, and how they play an integral role in the Collaborative Health Program.

(This interview was edited for length and clarity)

What does your role as Satori’s HPC Program Manager entail?

So I do all the onboarding for the new health plan coordinators, train them on the EMR system that we use, show them how to read the patient’s charting, how to assess their medications, how to identify comorbidities, and then go through the process of requesting a health plan update from our specialists, and then delivering this information back to the patient via phone call and discussing it with them, and identifying any other needs they may have.

How have you found working for Satori so far?

It's been great seeing the whole team collaborating together and seeing how different departments work, and how different clinics work, and just seeing the whole collaboration of what Satori's trying to offer the patients on a whole and then the difference it makes, it's been quite remarkable to see.

You were a member of a clinic that joined the Satori network. What were some of the changes that you noticed Satori implement?

It was quite a big change, going from a very small run family business to a big corporation. We finally had an HR department and then an accounts department. So, it was quite the learning curve, but nicer that we felt way more supported, and everything was done properly. And you didn't have to do everything yourself. It was nice.

What is a Health Plan Coordinator?

So, as Health Plan Coordinators, we work alongside the NPs. I pair up each Health Plan Coordinator with an NP, and then that health plan coordinator will shadow the NP electronically. From what the NP picks out as a patient's comorbidities, we can then prioritize the ones that need the most attention now, and request education plans be developed by our international specialists through our Katana database. We'll go in and we'll screen it, we’ll pull all the relevant information that we need to deliver back to our patient, we'll give them a call, make sure it's a nice time to sit and chat, and we'll go through the education of it.

It's becoming very well received by the patients that not only do they have a doctor or an NP, but they've also now got a Health Plan Coordinator who's going to be calling them, following up and making sure they're looked after.

Are Health Plan Coordinators able to reduce the amount of work NPs and physicians are usually faced with?

A lot of work is now off their hands with regard to making sure everybody is followed up with, that's now the Health Plan Coordinator's role. If someone's not been seen for six months, we're also going to get them booked in for a follow-up as well. So, nobody falls by the wayside. We're swooping around and making sure everybody's issues are addressed. We're kind of like a vacuum, we're picking up all the pieces that might have been dropped here and there, making sure everyone's looked after properly.

How are Health Plan Coordinators benefiting Satori’s patients?

A big part is just having that extra person that the patients can reach out to. You can't always call your NP to ask a question, whereas they can call the health plan coordinator. It's that extra point of contact that enables them to make a big difference.

What do you think of Satori’s Collaborative Health Program?

The Collaborative Health Program is so great because the doctors have an NP to help pick up the pace of the day. If they've got 16 patients and they start running behind, four or five of them could go and see the NP instead. Everyone collaborates together. You can be looked after by five or six different people.

Each NP also has a health plan coordinator that goes and looks after their patient as well. So, there are so many people looking after that one person, whereas if you were just with somebody at AHS, your concerns might get completely lost. The collaboration of the whole team together is so special, and I think Canada-wide, Satori's Probably the one organization that's not only saying they're going to provide collaboration, but you can actually see it happening. The feedback has been quite remarkable. It's having such a big impact on patients’ health care.

What’s some of the feedback you've been hearing from patients?

I’ve heard quite a lot on the women's health side. Women have come in and gone, ‘Oh my god, you changed my life!’ They felt so unheard before. They’re not just receiving a 10-minute appointment anymore. It's an hour-long appointment, and absolutely everything is incorporated into this one clinical encounter. As Health Plan Coordinators, we can address all their individual issues. We can also add more education so that person can incorporate it into their home life as well. It's not just taking medication and having labs looked at, it's changing the whole lifestyle with that support at the same time.

There are so many patients that were just so reliant on pain medication, whereas now we're giving education on other areas that they can actually adapt to help manage their conditions. Instead of sticking a band-aid over the problem, they've been given the tools to fix it, get a handle on it, and not just ignore it and think it's gonna go away. So, I think it’s clear Health Plan Coordinators are making a big difference.

Do you have any message or information you'd like to share with Satori employees?

I think that explaining that health plan coordinators are also part of the collaboration model too. it's not just the doctors and the NPs. We are here to benefit the patient. A lot of people in Satori don't know we're here and they don't know what we're doing. I think if they could see the full picture of it all and hear the feedback that we're getting and see that we're in the background, we're digging in deep and following up and building relationships with these patients, I think it would increase the effectiveness of the collaborative care model even more.