About the Expert
Dr. Shruja Patel earned her MD with high honors from the Medical University of Lublin before completing a residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Dr. Patel has well-rounded experience as a board-certified family physician and emergency physician at multiple facilities in Houston and surrounding areas. She has worked as an emergency physician managing traumas, OB-GYN emergencies, and acutely and critically ill patients.
I keep hearing the term “medical home.” What exactly does that mean?
The medical home is a model of primary care that’s patient-centered, comprehensive, team-based, coordinated, accessible, and focused on quality and safety. It’s all about meeting patients where they are — from the simplest to the most complex conditions. Your medical home should be a place where you’re known by name and treated with respect, dignity, and compassion. More than anything, it’s about relationships of mutual trust and respect.
When my patients come to see me, they know they’ll see me every time. We know each other, and they understand I’m their partner for complete wellness care, sick care, management of chronic conditions, and more. As the name says, I’m completely invested in their care.
How can a physician emphasize the wellness side of their practice?
Whether someone originally comes to see me because they’re sick or have a chronic condition they need me to help manage or they’re interested in routine check-ups, we want to get to a place where we can be proactive and preventative about their health. We want to get them well and then talk about ways we can keep them well. I’d much rather partner with a patient to do the right things now, than have to address health issues down the line because we didn’t. We want to act — not react. If I’m seeing a slight rise in your weight or the first signs of insulin resistance, let’s partner to address this small problem now, so it never becomes a large problem.
You mentioned care should be patient-centered. Could you elaborate?
My patients are busy people. The last thing they want to do is sit around my waiting room stressing about the million and one other things they need to be doing. In our effort to keep healthcare patient-centered, we’ve streamlined our care. You can prefill most of your health history online or on your smartphone to decrease wait times to only minutes.
We want our patients to enjoy coming to see us and to find all the care they need once they get here. I also want to hear from my patients about anything I can do to provide them with the care they want, the way they want it, when they want it. Everything we do is for our patients’ convenience. This is their practice.
What types of care are offered at the traditional medical home?
The whole idea is that you don’t have to be referred out to receive the care you need and in most cases you aren’t. At my practice, Complete Care Physicians, we provide wellness exams, sick visits, management of chronic medical conditions, management of ADD/ADHD, women’s health, treatment for anxiety and depression, well-child exams (12 years and above), pediatric sick visits (age four and above), sports physicals, diabetes management, weight management, and plant-based diet counseling. And I’m always eager to hear from my patients about other services they’d like me to add.