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Connecting the community to health care that leaves no one behind

connectionspecialist

My name is Sarah and I’m a connection specialist for Affinity Medical Group. I’ve been with Affinity for 14 years. As a connection specialist I connect people with providers. If you are new to the area or are simply looking for a new primary care or specialty provider, I can help! In addition, I can answer any other questions you may have regarding our system as a whole, and other offerings we provide to our patients.

Being a connection specialist allows me the opportunity to help our community get properly matched with great health care. I understand that finding a new health care provider can sometimes be stressful. It’s my goal to make the entire process as smooth and stress-free as possible. I will ask you a series of questions to help me understand your needs and then match you with the most appropriate provider.

As a mom of a child with a chronic health issue, I know how important it is to find great health care providers when you need it most. This is why I feel strongly about my position. I enjoy providing you with a one-on-one consultation to help find a provider that matches your needs. I’m also able to provide you with location details and when the next available appointment will be with the provider of your choice.

I feel strongly about encouraging the community to secure a primary care provider and scheduling preventative care. In today’s society it’s important to make sure we look at preventative measures to live healthier lives.

This is my first post of a series of upcoming blog posts. I look forward to connecting with you and helping make your health care search a little bit easier.

To learn more or to speak with me directly, please call (920) 628-9280 or email me at sastern@affinityhealth.org.

How to take care of your spine/back

spineback_blog

Not taking care of your spine can turn out to be a real pain in the back—literally. Back pain is a common complaint, but there are simple steps you can take to improve your spine health and lessen or eliminate pain. Read through the following tips and think about how you typically move as you go through daily activities. Could you make some of these simple changes?

Sleeping
Healthy sleeping habits benefit your overall health, and the way you sleep impacts the health of your spine specifically. Avoid sleeping on your stomach as it puts unnecessary pressure on your spine and neck. If you sleep on your back, you can better maintain the healthy neutral curvature of your spine and avoid painful compression of its joints, nerves and muscles. If you sleep on your side, make sure your pillow is thicker to keep your neck and back straight. It can also be helpful to place a pillow between your knees keep your hips, pelvis and spine aligned.

Stretching
Another way to lessen spine pain is to make stretching a routine part of your day. Prep for good posture by stretching out your hamstrings (the muscles in the backs of your legs) every morning. Tight hamstrings pull on the bottom of your pelvic muscles and in turn cause lower back pain. Stretching breaks throughout the day are also a good way to get your blood flowing if you’re sitting or performing repetitive actions for a long period of time. Continue Reading »

Happy no-resolution New Year: plan for success

plansuccess

Many folks view the New Year as a chance to start new habits. Interestingly, many resolutions revolve around issues of wellness—losing weight tops the list of the 10 most popular resolutions. Getting more exercise or staying fit, quitting smoking, spending less, getting more organized and spending more time with family are other popular resolutions.

However, even though about 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, less than 10 percent actually succeed in achieving their goal. Unfortunately, resolutions tend to be abandoned quickly. So if resolutions fail, why make them?

Resolutions fail for various reasons: they are too vague, they did not include a detailed plan to actually accomplish the goal, folks did not have a support network to assist in the journey of reaching their goals, they did not have a deadline, etc. So this year, skip resolutions, and instead focus on creating a plan.

The difference? A plan outlines the steps you have to take. Take for instance the desire to eat healthier this year. A resolution would end there, and attempts to achieve this would probably fail a few weeks into the New Year. However, by focusing on planning to make this happen, you can emphasize the specific steps that need to be in place to be successful. What would these steps be? Perhaps the following: Continue Reading »

Grocery store tours at Festival Foods

grocerystore

We all have different feelings about grocery shopping. Do you find delight in going up and down the aisles, mesmerized at the variety of foods that are available for purchase? Or do you dread it, and feel like going to the grocery store is torture? Are you an avid coupon clipper who looks at grocery shopping as the ultimate challenge?

Whatever your feelings about grocery shopping are, it’s a necessity. As we become busier with our work, our community involvement, school and our families, our time spent at the store is more valuable than ever. Grocery stores have changed to cater to busy lifestyles and have become bigger to fit a wider variety of items. How can you maximize your grocery shopping time while still making healthy food choices?

Research shows that as food variety increases so does the amount of food we eat. That is, the fewer food choices or variety we have, the less we eat. Keeping this in mind can serve as a strategy to cut down on our intake, but can be hard to do when there are so many different foods to buy! The key to healthy grocery store shopping is to not get overwhelmed by the multitude of choices.

One good strategy is to shop with a prepared list to help curb impulse buys. To avoid getting distracted from your whole-food options, keep your shopping to the perimeter of the grocery store, where the fresh produce is placed. If you need to venture into the aisles, you might have questions. How do you know what is the healthiest version of a particular food? Which is the best choice for cereal? Which nut butter is best? What about condiments and salad dressings? Is a low fat salad dressing the best choice? Is organic better? Continue Reading »

Wellness that fits into your weekend – HealtheVisits

healthevisits

Recently I was experiencing some nagging symptoms that had been present for a couple of weeks but weren’t bothersome enough to motivate me to make an appointment with my usual nurse practitioner (NP). Then one Friday morning, as I was getting ready to visit Chicago for three days, I started considering what would happen if my symptoms got worse while I was out of town. Finding an urgent care in Chicago on a weekend was not an exciting prospect, but I was also not too enthusiastic about delaying my departure to get an appointment with my NP or visit Affinity’s Urgent Care. So, I decided to try HealtheVisits.

Using HealtheVisits turned out to be a great decision. Once I launched the application, it took about five minutes to register and fill out the questionnaire about my symptoms. About 15 minutes later, I checked my email even though I didn’t really expect anything for at least an hour. However, I already had a response from Dr. Larson with a diagnosis and treatment plan!

All I had to do next was forward the electronic prescription to the pharmacy of my choice. The application showed a list of local pharmacies with their addresses, and provided a search feature as well. I selected a pharmacy that was on my way out of town, hit send, loaded the car and by the time I got to the pharmacy my prescription was ready.

My favorite things about HealtheVisits were the easy process and the cost—it was all very intuitive and for $35, it’s a cost-effective way to find care. By skipping the usual time it would take to fit an appointment into my schedule—and the time it takes for a full office visit—I was able to go about my business without delay. What a stress saver!

Author: Karla Repta – Director of Clinic System Patient Care Services at Affinity Health System

Disclaimer: The information found on Affinity's blog is a general educational aid. Do not rely on this information or treat it as a substitute for personal medical or health care advice, or for diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your physician or other qualified health care provider as soon as possible about any medical or health-related question and do not wait for a response from our experts before such consultation. If you have a medical emergency, seek medical attention immediately.

The Affinity Health System blog contains opinions and views created by community members. Affinity does endorse the contributions of community members. You should not assume the information posted by community members is accurate and you should never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this site.