Healthcare in the United States is an ongoing hot topic, and that probably won’t change any time soon. Americans struggle to agree on how to fix the situation, but most find common ground on one aspect of the issue—the quality of care is lacking.
All too often, we wait weeks (if not months!) for an appointment with a specialist. Then, we’re forced to sit patiently in the waiting room only to feel rushed through the visit when it’s finally time to see the doctor. It can be a terrible experience for someone who is worried about their health.
Then, the frustrating cycle of reaching out to referrals, undergoing additional testing and following up with your primary care physician begins. It rarely goes smoothly. Appointments get canceled. Instructions (such as needing to fast before blood work) aren’t provided. The doctor you need to see is on vacation. You get sent to the wrong place.
The list goes on and on and it can take months to get answers—if at all. One clinic in New York City, however, is trying to change that, and their model could save lives.
The Six-Hour Physical
Have you ever wished that you could just get all of the tests and consultations done in one day? Wouldn’t it be great to spend a few hours at a clinic and leave with a full medical report in your own hands? That’s what Manhattan-based Elitra Health provides—and more.
Last month, I was able to visit the facility and experience their “six-hour physical” and, let me tell you, it was an absolutely incredible and eye-opening morning. The full list of exam components is quite extensive, so I’ll encourage you to check it out here. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll walk you through my experience to give you an idea of what to expect.
My appointment was at 7 AM, and when I walked into the bright, clean clinic, I was immediately greeted. After completing my paperwork, I was taken back to the women’s locker room to change and provide a urine sample. Then, I was taken to have my blood drawn (the technician did a great job with my notoriously fickle veins!).
I’d been fasting for eight hours—this was necessary so that the results of my blood work would be ready by the end of my appointment—so I was thrilled to be led to a private room with a television where a warm breakfast was waiting for me. I’d just gotten caught up on the latest news when my concierge arrived to take me to my next meeting. My vitals were taken and my vision and hearing were screened before they took me to meet with Elitra Health’s medical director, Dr. Avram Nemetz.
You know how you normally prepare for a rushed, rigid encounter with doctors? You might even have a list prepared but you don’t even get through most of your concerns? I’ve definitely waited weeks for an appointment, only to stay quiet during the meeting because I didn’t want to annoy the specialist. How sad is that?
Sitting with Dr. Nemetz, though, felt like talking to a friend. He already knew all about me because he actually read the intake forms—and took notes! We chatted for a long time as he went over my family history, addressed my concerns, and shared more about the tests I’d be undergoing that day. Then, he told me that he’d see me at the end of the day so we could review my results. It was a completely satisfying and reassuring experience.
For the next several hours, I felt like royalty. As I moved from one room to another, doing everything from a DEXA body composition to a skin cancer screening and a nutritional assessment, everything about the process amazed me. The staff was remarkably professional and attentive. I felt very much like the quality of care they provided and my sense of well-being was of the utmost importance to them.
When I met with clinical exercise physiologist, Alexander Erlikh, M.S. his commitment to excellence was immediately clear. He ensured that the measurement devices were well-calibrated and conducted my treadmill stress electrocardiogram test personally. Then, he provided detailed recommendations for a fitness routine based on my own goals and specific needs. He didn’t just make suggestions and hope I’d follow through, he made me get up and perform the exercises.
As the team put together my results, I was led to a treatment room where I received a 20-minute massage. Again, the service went above and beyond what I’m used to. After the massage, the massage therapist provided some feedback and encouraged me to focus on hydration and then walked me through stretches personalized for my needs (which I’ve done every day since!).
Getting the Results
After all of the tests and assessments, I had one last meeting. It was time for Dr. Nemetz to walk me through all of the results. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous. Fortunately, it ended up being a truly educational and empowering moment.
I’d been given a menu earlier in the day, and the lunch I chose was waiting for me as we discussed the results. Wanting to focus entirely on what Dr. Nemetz had to say, however, I opted to take it to go and in a park nearby, just outside the World Trade Center.
He came in holding two sets of my results—one for my records at Elitra Health and another in a binder for me to take home. Considering all I’d done that morning, there were a lot of things to review, and he took his time going over everything. He left no stone unturned, and I left with an incredibly clear picture of my current health, and how I could make the most of the years ahead.
In six hours, I learned more about my body than I have in the past 10 years. What were my biggest insights? Bone density and muscle mass are really important factors when trying to find an “ideal” weight. My bones are incredibly dense and heavy, so certain weight goals are just not realistic for me. It felt like a burden was lifted off my shoulders as Dr. Nemetz offered more realistic guidance based on my actual body composition.
In the end, I didn’t need any referrals, but it was reassuring to know that, if I did, Elitra Health would handle it all for me. Also, according to the website, “Mount Sinai Hospital and Elitra Health have a strategic alliance which allows physicians to work hand-in-hand with their team, providing patients priority scheduling and access to their top specialists.”
In recent years, I’ve become obsessed with preventive healthcare, and the six-hour physical at Elitra Health is an excellent option for getting a complete look at the current status of your overall health. Rather than focusing on existing complaints, the comprehensive exam shifts the perspective, giving us the ability to look at wellness holistically—because you’re a whole person. Isn’t that what modern “healthcare” should be?