Riverside Medical Clinic in Drumheller, which celebrated its official Grand Opening on June 30, is the dream child of Drs. Veronique and Rithesh Ram. This new innovative approach to healthcare is based on the patient "medical home" model of health care.
“The patient is at the top of the totem pole and the staff is underneath and the physician is at the bottom.” says Dr. Veronique Ram, who is currently completing her rural family physician residency. “We all work as a team to meet the patient needs.”
Dr. Rithesh Ram adds: “It’s not physician driven medicine. It is patient focused. The patient is part of the team. We want our patients to be involved in their care. We want them to educate themselves and be part of that collaborative process.”
Instead of the traditional physician exam room, Riverside Medical is made up of larger theme rooms, including hockey, alpine, technology, book and for the kids, a Disney room.
“If a patient comes in, say a mom with multiple kids, maybe it’s the kids who need the care, maybe it’s the mom, there is a special Disney room that is assigned for that. It’s bigger. It has interactive things for the kids to do. If there happens to be ADD kids for example, we actually get that proper assessment,” says Dr. Rithesh Ram.
Riverside Medical is a one-stop shop. Patients are able to come see their physician, a diabetic nurse, a psychologist and their pharmacist all in one place.
“People nowadays often don’t have just one issue like high blood pressure. They have multiple issues. There are other people who are more skilled than a physician in dealing with them. The diabetic nurse that sees eight diabetic patients a day. She can read blood sugars and help with nutrition, diet and exercise way better than the family physician,” says Dr. Veronique Ram.
Ashlyn Herzog is an LPN at Riverside Medical. “So, if a patient is coming in, I review their charts the previous day and I identify problems that I believe I would have the knowledge to assist in education for that patient. I would meet with them for the first 15 minutes, have some conversation and provide some education, and then the physician would join me with the patient.”
By using this multidisciplinary approach, it frees up more time for the physician to see more patients in a day. Same day appointments are often available.
Dr. Rithesh Ram says: “We are going with a minimalist physician group and a maximum team around them because to be honest with you, you really don’t need your physician for a lot of things. You need them to coordinate some things but the rest of the team is going to be the big driving force of what healthcare is going to be moving forward.”