Meet Artie, Featured in our New People Healing People Commercial

Artie-ThumbWhen Artie found out she had stage two breast cancer, she was scared. She was also scared when she first met with Dr. Julie Barone, who performed her surgery. But thanks to her care team and her circle of support, she became less afraid.

“My doctors knew I could beat it,” Artie said of her cancer. “They had more belief in me than I had in myself.”

Treatment at Saint Joseph Hospital, along with that confidence, helped lead Artie on her road to remission. Now she is healthy, happy and able to spend plenty of time with family, dancing, making bead jewelry, and whatever else she wants. Her new commercial, which is the latest in our People Healing People campaign, start airing this week in the Denver region. You can watch her TV commercial below, and go to our campaign site to view extended videos and other campaign materials.

Also, watch the behind-the-scenes video from Artie’s commercial shoot and her emotional reunion with Dr. Barone.

Bye Bye Phone Calls, Hello Online Appointment Scheduling!

Associates and patients can now schedule their own doctor appointments online through a bold, new service being offered by SCL Health. The program recently launched in Colorado and is expected to expand to Kansas and Montana later this year. The goal is to make it easy and convenient for our patients and associates to go online and self-schedule appointments with select providers who are part of SCL Physicians, right from their computers or mobile devices, at any time day or night!

SCL Health offers two ways for patients in the Denver Region to schedule appointments online:

  1. Schedule appointments through MyChart by logging in to the account and clicking the “Schedule an Appointment” button for participating providers.
  2. Schedule appointments with new Denver providers from our SCLPhysicians.org website, by using the “Find a Doctor” tool and clicking the “Book Online” button under participating providers.

This is part of a broader effort by SCL Health to deliver the same kind of convenience and person-centered experience in healthcare that our patients see in other areas of their lives. Today’s patients are shopping online for healthcare services in the same ways they are shopping on Amazon.com or other making other consumer decisions, and they are willing to switch providers for such conveniences. The organization is navigating a vast number of behind-the-scenes complexities and technological challenges to ensure that the patients gets something simple and easy to use. This is part of a strategy to attract new patients and increase the satisfaction of existing patients.

So far, in the first two weeks of online scheduling, patients have scheduled nearly 200 appointments online, either through MyChart or our website. That number is expected to continue to grow by leaps and bounds as marketing takes place in our communities where online scheduling is available, and as patients successfully book appointments online, and continue booking online in the future.

If you have questions, please contact SCLHealthCommunications@sclhs.net.

Cutting Through Confusion for Mammography Screenings

When it comes to breast cancer screening, confusion abounds these days for when women should get mammograms.

Conflicting messages from leading medical groups have made healthcare decision-making a lot more daunting for women who want to ensure they are getting the best care for their breast health. National headlines in the past few months have shined a spotlight on the perplexing issue of personal choice when medical experts disagree.

Dr. Julie L. Barone, DO

Dr. Julie L. Barone, DO

So what is a woman to do? Dr. Julie Barone, breast surgeon and Medical Director of Breast Services for SCL Health, says it comes down to incorporating multiple tactics and taking ownership of your personal health. Know your family history, do your research, take care of yourself, and most importantly, consult your physician.

The recommended age for screenings spans as much as 10 years among reputable medical organizations. The American College of Radiology, the Society of Breast Imaging, the American Society of Breast Surgeons and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists maintain that women get annual mammograms starting at age 40.

By contrast, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that most healthy women without increased breast cancer risk can start mammograms at the age of 50 and then screen every other year.

The American Cancer Society just changed its recommendations on October 20th,  saying most women should start getting yearly mammograms at the age of 45 (rather than the previous recommendation of age 40), and then every other year beginning at age 55 for as long as they are in good health. Women ages 40 to 44 should discuss mammography with their doctor and have the option of starting annual screening if they want it or their risk factors warrant it, according to the ACS. The ACS attributed the changes to new research published on the benefits and drawbacks of screening with mammography.

The take home message is that when recommendations are based on judgments about the balance of risks and benefits, experts can look at the same data and reach different conclusions.  Although mammography is less sensitive in younger women and may lead to additional imaging and biopsy for lesions that are ultimately benign, numerous studies have demonstrated that screening mammography leads to improved survival for women aged 40-49.

The guidelines are confusing and ultimately every woman has different needs, according to Dr. Barone.

“Women should begin breast self-exam starting in their 20s. Women should report any breast changes to their health professional right away,” Dr. Barone said.  “Annual mammogram should start at age 40 and earlier for women at increased risk. Women who are at high risk for breast cancer based on certain factors should get an MRI and a mammogram every year.”

According to Dr. Barone, women who should get annual breast MRI in addition to their annual mammogram include those women who:

  • Have a lifetime risk of breast cancer 20% or greater, according to risk assessment tools that are based mainly on family history
  • Have a known BRCA1,  BRCA2  or other gene mutation with increased risk for breast cancer
  • Have a first-degree relative (parent, brother, sister, or child) who has a  gene mutation with increased risk for breast cancer, and have not had genetic testing themselves
  • Had radiation therapy to the chest when they were between the ages of 10 and 30 years
  • Have Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Cowden syndrome, or Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome, or have first-degree relatives with one of these syndromes

“Mammograms, MRIs in women at high risk, annual clinical breast exams with your healthcare provider, and reporting breast changes early provide the best chance to reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer,” Dr. Barone said. “This multimodality approach is better than using a single test or exam alone.”

Here are some ways you can advocate for your own health and reduce your risk of breast cancer:

Know your family history.

Women with close relatives who have been diagnosed with breast cancer have a higher risk of developing the disease. Breast specialists, nurse navigators and genetic counselors can help determine who is at a higher risk for developing different types of breast cancers.

Do your research.

Getting screening tests and vaccinations is an important part of preventative care. Find out which tests and immunizations are recommended by age group and gender in our Health Library to help live longer, live better and live happier.

Consult your physician.

Early detection of breast cancer gives a woman more choices – and also increases her chances of having the best possible outcome. Women should speak with their doctor about recommendations for mammograms and other imaging studies as well as available treatment options depending on the results of their studies.

Make healthy lifestyle choices

Women can make conscious decisions to have healthier lifestyles, which also can reduce the risks of developing breast cancer. These include maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol, eating a nutritious diet, and not smoking.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – as good a time as any to schedule an appointment. Visit www.sclhealth.org to find a location near you. Click here to hear directly from Dr. Barone on breast health and high risk management.

 

 

 

 

VIDEO: From Lab Coats to Running Shorts, Docs Run for Kids

Watch this two-minute video of our physicians in the Colfax Marathon:

In a display of speed, camaraderie and generosity, two relay teams from SCL Physicians raced in the Colfax Marathon in Denver on May 17. Each team included five runners who divided up the 26.2 miles to raise money for Mount Saint Vincent, SCL Health’s mental health treatment center for children.

“It was a super fun way to meet some of the other doctors in the company,” said Tanya Kern, MD. “We were running for Mount Saint Vincent, and Sister Amy Willcott (Executive Director) was at Checkpoint 4 to cheer me on for my leg of the relay.” This was the second year the physicians participated in the marathon relay. “This year we had more physicians interested in running, so we created two teams,” said Bruce Smith, MD, Medical Director of Primary Care for SCL Physicians – and the event organizer. “It’s a great way for us to get to know each other, compete in a race, and raise money for the kids of Mount Saint Vincent.”

Another SCL Physician, Al Steinmann, MD, said he felt a responsibility when taking the baton from his teammate in the relay, but enjoyed a mostly downhill section of the course. “When Bruce (Smith) asked me to run again, it was an easy decision. It’s nice to support an organization that’s part of SCL Health and does such wonderful work for kids,” he said.

The group from SCL Physicians wasn’t the only team representing SCL Health. Members of Saint Joseph Hospital’s Emergency Department were a blur in their SCL Health racing shirts, Mount Saint Vincent associates formed a team, and other associates and providers from around the system also ran for fun and/or a good cause.

The SCL Physician runners were:

  • Michael Benoit, MD
  • Mark Foster, DO, and his wife Elizabeth Foster
  • Tanya Kern, MD
  • Matthew Liebentritt, DO
  • Julie Paddock, MD
  • Jeffrey Richker, MD
  • Marcela Serrano, MD
  • Alwin (Al) Steinmann, MD
  • Nicky Theiss, MD

Join in the caring spirit of the physicians, and consider a donation to the children of Mount Saint Vincent. Visit www.msvhome.org/donate and select “SCLP Colfax Marathon” from the drop-down menu.

Note: Shout-out to video and story contributors Paula Freund, Kyle Garratt and Lauren Wojtko.