At Sun Life Health, the focus is on the whole patient and making sure the treatment programs developed for each patient have the best chance for success. Samantha Reinhard, Sun Life’s Director of Community Outreach, says it starts by including things in an office visit for which Sun Life may not be able to bill your insurance, such as a visit with a clinical pharmacist about medication management.
“We have programs that insurance doesn’t always consider as billable, but we feel like they are valuable to patients for their care. Those items are included as patient perks,” Reinhard says.
From infants to seniors, Sun Life offers a full continuum of care, often referred to as integrated care as opposed to the traditional models of health care silos. Reinhard said that is Sun Life’s biggest advantage over other healthcare providers. “We don’t work in silos,” she said. “The care team can look at a chart from each service line,”. “If one of our primary care providers wants to know what our OB team did, they can look at the chart instead of relying on the patient to remember what happened at their OB appointment, or the other OB’s office sending the records. We don’t have to spend time going through siloed systems or dealing with a medical office phone system.”
Most patients newly diagnosed with diabetes, for example, are reluctant to change the behaviors that affect their condition, such as their diet, exercise habits or glucose monitoring. Sun Life offers the ability to address all those needs through integrated services. The lab work can be done on site and prescriptions filled at the pharmacy just down the hall. Diabetes counselors work with patients to help determine effective treatments, and in-office, integrated, behavioral health professionals help develop strategies for making the lifestyle changes. One patient said consolidation of her medical needs was exactly why she chose Sun Life for her health care: “It’s just so convenient.”
As part of its approach, Sun Life Health also teaches patients about nutrition, exercise and medication management to help patients understand how each aspect of care interacts.
The staff also talks with patients about their habits and listens for red flags that could impede the patient’s ability to manage their condition. “We look for things other health care providers might not be looking for. If we’re talking about nutrition, we don’t just talk about eating better, we make sure you have access to good food.”, Reinhard said.