Confidence to Seek Alternatives
The Amazing Difference
Linda had been experiencing pain for some time. At first it would come and go. Occasionally it was what seemed more like a back ache; other times it was pain in her legs; and occasionally she’d get sharp pains in the pelvic area.
Unsure what was going on, Linda mostly just took Motrin and tried to live with it. Then, in February, Linda went in for a regular check up with her primary care physician who told her it sounded a lot like Uterine Fibroids – non-cancerous growths on the uterus that often develop during childbearing years. The doctor said she was not the right person to make the diagnosis, but that a hysterectomy could be what was needed.
So, Linda scheduled an appointment with her OB\GYN who she’d been seeing for 21 years. Dr. Francis, in fact, had delivered all three of Linda’s children who are now 20, 17 and 14. Joey, her 14-year-old, was delivered via c-section.
The Amaze Factor
Linda knew what she was going to see Dr. Francis about, so on her calendar she set a reminder for a “hysterectomy consultation.”
With that one word – “hysterectomy” – anywhere in Linda’s appointment reminder, the Amaze system automatically sent Linda an email with important, context-based information that included:
- A data sheet about the procedure
- A list of the most important questions to ask her doctor
- A link to a video about hysterectomies
- A button to talk to an Amaze physician prior to her OB\GYN appointment if she had any questions she wanted to discuss in advance
Linda’s appointment was at 10:30 on a Thursday, so she took the morning off from work. At 10:05, Linda was in the car on the way to her appointment when her phone buzzed. While Linda wouldn’t have realized the specifics, she had just crossed a geo fence that told Amaze she was within a half mile of her doctor’s office. We also knew she was within 30 minutes of her appointment. The buzz was an alert reminding Linda about her data sheet and the list of questions to ask (which now included any notes she had taken following her first email from Amaze).
After Linda pulled into the parking lot at her doctor’s office, she picked up her phone to see what the buzzing was. She was glad to see the reminder, along with a copy of the data sheet and list of questions; she had actually printed them both the night before and had left them on the kitchen counter when she left the house.
At just after 10:30, Linda’s name was called and she went in to see her doctor. She explained what was going on and her doctor did an ultrasound right there in his office. He showed her the fibroids and confirmed the need for a hysterectomy.
Linda then referred to the questions on her phone. She asked him who would do the procedure. The doctor answered that he does hysterectomies every other Thursday morning at the local hospital. This was good news to Linda – after all, what woman doesn’t want to hear that her doctor of 20 years, who she knows and trusts, and who delivered all three of her children, is going to do her surgery
Linda asked what the procedure was like. The doctor explained that it’s very routine, that she’ll be under general anesthesia, and that he makes a four-inch incision. He explained that recovery usually takes about two weeks.
As the doctor was talking, Linda was looking at the list of questions on her phone. She was feeling a little squeamish about asking the next question. She realized she might not like the answer:
“Dr., what percentage of hysterectomies do you do laparoscopically?”
There was an awkward pause before the doctor answered: “Well, I’m more of a traditionalist. I don’t really believe in doing them laparoscopically. I’m much more confident in the results doing it the way I just described it to you.”
Linda was done with her questions. As the doctor walked her out, he stopped by the reception desk and said, “Barb can help you get that scheduled? Was there anything else we needed to talk about today?”
“No, thank you,” Linda replied.
The doctor walked away and Barb said she could schedule Linda about three weeks out. Linda replied, “Why don’t I call you to schedule things? I have to check my schedule with by husband and kids’ activities.” She was just looking for a graceful exit.
When Linda got to her car, she was a little upset. Was there really a problem? Still sitting in her car a few minutes later, Linda’s phone buzzed. There was a pop up asking her to rate her appointment (one to five stars), whether any follow-up was scheduled, and whether there was anything Amaze could do for her. Linda thought about it and decided to talk to an Amaze doctor right there on the spot.
The doctor confirmed Linda’s impressions – her doctor had probably never learned to do hysterectomies laparoscopically. The doctor also explained that more commonly, there’s a third alternative which is a vaginal hysterectomy which is the least risky of all.
The call only lasted a few minutes with Linda realizing that she needed to go see another doctor. The Amaze doctor connected Linda to an Amaze health advisor who helped Linda navigate her Amaze app to identify three other doctors to consider.