In Philadelphia, doctors reach out to patients with specialty services


A number of medical practices in Philadelphia are bringing specialty care to patients wherever they can reach them, from offering eye exams at primary care offices to taking blood pressures at barbershops.

Medical practices are making it easier for patients to do one-stop shopping, according to a report on Health centers offering multiple services is a way to help in underserved communities where people might not otherwise seek care until they face serious health problems, Leila Hardware, M.D., a primary care physician at Spectrum Health Services, told the publication

Physicians are offering eye exams at the primary care doctor’s office and offering dental services to kids during visits at the pediatrician, according to the report. The efforts are being made to make it easier for busy families to fit in medical care and to reach lower income people who can’t afford to see a doctor, dentist or eye doctor regularly.

Practices are putting numerous resources in one location so families can get lots accomplished in a visit. For instance, pediatrician Daniel R. Taylor, M.D., serves some of the city’s poorest families at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and as director of Community Pediatrics and Child Advocacy. Along with their regular exam, kids get a free book to encourage reading and fluoride treatments to protect their dental health. Doctors make sure families are receiving benefits they qualify for, such as food stamps. And there’s a lawyer and four social workers on staff, with plans to add an ob/gyn and a psychiatrist.

"In medical school, we're taught that it's genetic code that determines health and behavior, but the zip code you live in has a huge impact," Taylor told the publication.

The Wills Eye Hospital glaucoma service is working with 17 primary care physician offices to screen patients at risk for glaucoma. The next step is to include social workers to help ensure patients follow up with an eye doctor.

And Krystal Hill, a first-year medical student at the University of Pennsylvania, goes to the Philly Cuts barbershop twice a month and takes blood pressures as part of the Student National Medical Association’s Cut Hypertension program, according to the report.

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