We get a patient’s perspective on healthcare from Linsi Brownson on this episode of the Perspectives on Healthcare Podcast with Rob Oliver. She is a member of the millennial generation and joined the podcast from Austin, Texas. This interview is #34 in the patient’s perspective interview marathon.
Here are 3 things that stood out as Linsi Brownson gave us a patient’s perspective on healthcare:
• Quality healthcare utilizes a holistic approach where healthcare providers are open-minded, curious, and willing to work collaboratively with patients.
• A healthcare system that supports wellness, not just illness, can contribute to a healthier and happier community.
• Two key actions that medical professionals can take to improve healthcare quality are (1) approaching patients without judgment and (2) offering patients options and involving them in decision-making.
Here is the transcript of Linsi Brownson giving us a patient’s perspective on healthcare:
Rob Oliver: Welcome to the podcast. Thanks for being here. What is your name, my friend?
Linsi Brownson: Hi, Rob. My name is Linsi Brownson.
Rob Oliver: And Linsi, where are you joining us from?
Linsi Brownson: I’m calling from Austin, Texas.
Rob Oliver: Excellent. So we’ll jump right in from the beginning, and that is can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your kind of healthcare experience, please?
Linsi Brownson: Absolutely. So I just turned 40 this year, which is…
Rob Oliver: Congratulations.
Linsi Brownson: An amazing milestone.
Rob Oliver: My brother in law would tell you that you don’t look a day over 39, which I don’t know what kind of compliment that is, but there you go.
Linsi Brownson: I will take it. I love it. So my health care experience is I was diagnosed in 2005 at age 23 with two autoimmune conditions, lupus and Sjögren’s. And my experiences in getting to that diagnosis was pretty terrible. I basically spent five years suffering from extreme symptoms and being told by all kinds of different medical professionals that there’s nothing wrong. That is probably just stress and best case scenario, there’s nothing we could really do about it. So I really learned in that time that I needed to be my own healthcare advocate because they knew that feeling the way I felt was not normal. I was young, I was not overweight. I was not living any kind of lifestyle where it made sense. So I didn’t fit into any kind of mold that we could look at. And that was a big challenge. That kind of kick started the whole healthcare journey for me.
Rob Oliver: Yeah. Is that an early diagnosis or is that a typical time for diagnosis or what’s the usual time frame? And kind of a second part to that question is, is the co occurrence of those two conditions common or is that less common?
Linsi Brownson: So I think that it was roughly in the age range. That’s pretty common. I think it was a little bit early, but I think that there was no real reason for us to see that that’s what was happening. It was also very early where there’s not a lot of research that was being done at the time. Autoimmune wasn’t really even a word that was used very frequently. So it was a pretty fringe thing, which is so interesting now in 2005. It’s a long time ago, but it doesn’t seem that long ago. But so really, it wasn’t very well known at all. And the co occurrence of the two, I think is relatively common. I think often with autoimmune, you do end up having a secondary diagnosis, which is what mine ended up being with the Sjögren’s. But it really did take a full five years of dead ends and basically being told to go away before we were able to connect enough of the dots to do something about it.
Rob Oliver: Yeah. Okay. I’m just going to make this comment right here. You’re talking about 2005 not being it was long ago, but not so long ago when we talk about something happening in the year 2000 when I was a kid, all of the things that were promised to me by the time that we got to the year 2000, I’ve been ripped off. Like we were going to have jet packs to get around and we were going to go for vacation to the moon and all of these kinds of things. And I guess we have people that are going up into space on vacation, and we have people that are planning some kind of visit to the moon. But in the I got ripped off here, man. It’s not as exciting. I am living in the future and it’s not as fantastic as what they told me it was going to be.
Linsi Brownson: It’s fascinating because there are so many technological advances that we didn’t even think about that we have the things that we just take for granted that we didn’t even think about. But yes, some of the outlandish things that we thought we would be in flying cars right now. Yeah, those didn’t happen. Probably for the best.
Rob Oliver: Right. Although I don’t think we envision self driving cars yet, so we’re working towards that. Technology is making progress. Okay, on your healthcare journey, have you encountered healthcare heroes?
Linsi Brownson: Yes. So thankfully, the way that I think about it, it sounds kind of negative, but I mean, it ultimately positive. 99% of the healthcare professionals that I’ve encountered in a lifetime of exploring these things have let me down in some way have really not had my back. But the 1% of people who have have saved my life. And that has been the most incredible gift ever. And I’m so thankful to have those healthcare heroes in my life.
Rob Oliver: Okay, two questions for you. Number one, it’s a very strong statement that they have saved your life. Do you mean that figuratively or do you mean that literally?
Linsi Brownson: I think it’s mostly figuratively, but there is always the chance that it could be literally for my particular conditions. It generally doesn’t kill you. There are autoimmune diseases that do, but it causes significant suffering and the breakdown of vital organs, which ultimately will probably kill you. But it’s not like you get diagnosed and it becomes a terminal thing. I think they’ve saved my life in that they’ve given me a life to live. I feel like as of today, with the people who I’ve been able to build as a team around me, I live mostly symptom free in my life. And that was never a possibility, especially based on early conversations that we had where I was told really that I was going to have to be taking a steroid for the rest of my life and that has serious repercussions. And there’s one other medication as well. It was just expected that the best case I would ever have is to be managing symptoms and to be living with some form of pain and discomfort for the rest of my life. And so the people who actually have been able and willing to listen to me and what I want and help me find a path that works for me. They have given me the life that I would not otherwise be able to have.
Rob Oliver: Okay. And would you be willing to share any names so that we can give a shout out to someone to say, Linsi has proclaimed that you are a healthcare hero.
Linsi Brownson: Yeah, absolutely. So the very first one this is way back in the day. His name was Dr. Cho, and he was the first of I had seen four doctors with initial symptoms, and they had all told me it was a form of stress or nothing at all. And he was the very first one who ever listened and was like, you know what? Just based on what you’re saying, I think we should at least explore it so that you can have the peace of mind that you’ve done everything you can. That’s a huge impact to make on a 23 year old woman’s life. My practitioners today, Dr. Re is my primary care physician today. I think he’s the most amazing doctor in the world. And my chiropractor, Dr. Sue Mushett, they are both here in Austin, Texas, and they make my life better.
Rob Oliver: Shout out to both of them. Much love for being healthcare heroes and for giving you the support that you need to move forward. Good. So what does quality health care mean to you?
Linsi Brownson: Yeah. So my thought on this is that it’s when someone is willing to take a holistic approach, recognizing that there’s not just one way to address or to solve a problem and really being willing and encouraging and excited to meet a patient where they are at. I think that makes all the difference in the world because for me, I really like to start with the things that are in my control and use things like medication and other interventions to help boost what I’m doing or when I can’t control the things that are going on. I know a lot of other people feel the opposite way. They want to start the medication or intervention first and then see what else they can do on their own. I think that having medical providers who give you lots of great information and show you your options and really ask you what are your goals here? What is it that you want out of this ultimately, and what are you comfortable with and then creating that plan together? That’s what I think quality care really is.
Rob Oliver: Okay. What do you wish your medical providers understood about you?
Linsi Brownson: I feel pretty well understood with the people I have now, but I had to do a lot of work to get there. Okay. I think just for me personally, I think it’s a sense of resourcefulness and capability, and I think that this trickles out into a broad generalization, but I think this trickles out to far more people than we give credit for. We are capable, we are resourceful, and we want to be well. We want to be empowered to take care of our health, to take care of our bodies, and to have a system, a healthcare system that supports us in our wellness and not just in our illness. So I would love for medical providers to know, to really believe the best in all of the patients and to believe that the more we can give people the resources to support themselves, the healthier and happier we all will be.
Rob Oliver: Makes a lot of sense. And my last question for you is, what is one thing medical professionals can start doing today to improve the quality of health care?
Linsi Brownson: Yeah. Okay. So I have a two part answer goes together. The first one is really just non judgment, being willing to listen to a patient and not have the conclusion just based on a checklist or information that you have at present to really have the curiosity to dig in further. The other thing this is my favorite thing about my primary is that he always gives me sort of a high low option as we’re talking through how we can address something. He’ll always say, hey, here’s one route that we could go. This is if you really want to dig into it, if you want to do this and this and this testing, that’s the direction that we can go. And if you want to start with something that’s really simple that you could just try today or try over the next couple of weeks and see how you feel, and then we’ll keep building on that, then we can start there as well. And so giving those two options or giving your patients just the opportunity to gauge where they feel comfortable and where they’re at, I think that changes the quality of care so much.
Rob Oliver: Excellent. Okay. I don’t want to miss it. Did you give me both options? I wanted to make sure that both suggestions because I don’t want to miss a thing.
Linsi Brownson: Yes. So the first one was the non judgment and really open mindedness and curiosity with a patient. And then the second one is kind of asking them what their goals are, giving them a couple of options and seeing where they would like to go and play with planning that out with them.
Rob Oliver: Excellent. Wonderful. Listen, Linsi, I appreciate you being here today. Your willingness to share and your willingness to really open up. It’s appreciated. I’m excited we’re moving towards this goal at the end of before we close your section, I just want to make a general announcement for everyone that the platform that I am using today is called Restream. Io. And I could not be happier with how this is going. Everyone is being able to get in here. We’ve had a couple of technical glitches, but huge props to Restream.io for making this all possible. And then in the meantime, Linsi. I will say thank you for being here. I appreciate you and here we go. We’re about to bring in my next guest. I appreciate you and I respect your perspective on healthcare. Thanks for being here, Linsi.
Linsi Brownson: Thank you so much. Rob. Congratulations. This is awesome.
Rob Oliver: Yup appreciate it. See you later. Bye.
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Disclaimer: All opinions expressed by guests on the Perspectives on Healthcare Podcast are solely the opinion of the guest. They are not to be misconstrued as medical diagnoses or medical advice. Please consult with a licensed medical professional before attempting any of the treatments suggested.