Today we get a patient’s perspective on healthcare from Maranda Holder on the Perspectives on Healthcare podcast with Rob Oliver. This is interview 41 from the Guinness world record setting interview marathon. Maranda joined the podcast from Chester Virginia, right outside Richmond. It is interesting to hear her perspective as it covers her experiences as a patient and as an employee in the healthcare system.
Here are 3 things that stood out as Maranda Holder shared a patient’s perspective on healthcare:
- Stacey Epps is a healthcare hero because he was thorough, patient, and listened to the patient without jumping to conclusions.
- Quality healthcare means that the patient is being listened to, providers are exploring multiple possible diagnoses and that care providers have a good bedside manner.
- The healthcare delivery and medical records systems are fragmented. This leaves the patient responsible for disclosing medical history and medications. Having a more unified system of delivery and tracking would be beneficial.
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Here is the text of my conversation with Maranda holder:
Introduction to Maranda Holder
Rob Oliver: Welcome. How are you?
Maranda Holder: I’m good.
Rob Oliver: Good. What is your name?
Maranda Holder: Maranda Holder.
Rob Oliver: Wonderful. Maranda, where are you joining me from?
Maranda Holder: Chester, Virginia.
Rob Oliver: I appreciate you being here. Let me just say that I’ve had a couple of guests that didn’t show up. I think the world’s longest interview with Stacy, in which I think we were like 45 minutes or something, but I was so delighted to see you show up because I was starting to run out of questions and was thinking that Guinness says, that as long as I have questions to ask, I can keep going and I had more questions and we kept going.
Maranda Holder: Then it matters.
Rob Oliver: I was starting to wonder if it was going to flare out or what was going to happen, so no problem. Let’s start here. Can you tell me about yourself and your background and experiences in healthcare, please?
Maranda Holder: Yes. I’m 37 years old and I have worked in the healthcare industry for almost 15 years. That doesn’t sound right, but it’s accurate. I have worked in primary healthcare settings. I have worked in specialty offices, surgical facilities. I worked with insurance portion of it for a while. It’s definitely good to work in it to see all the aspects. You know what I mean?
Rob Oliver: Sure. As you work in it, what is your experience like having to utilize healthcare based on your experiences in being in the industry, so to speak?
Maranda Holder: As a patient, sometimes I expect more. Other times, I think I’m really good at understanding better than somebody who hasn’t worked in healthcare that there’s more than one patient. You have to give a little bit of leeway and grace on that. It just depends on the situation, I guess.
Rob Oliver: Sure.
Maranda Holder: On whether or not I expect more or I give grace.
Rob Oliver: Yes. Very interesting that there are times, it cuts both ways, is what I’m hearing you say.
Maranda Holder: Yes. Absolutely.
Rob Oliver: That you know that there is a certain level of expectation that you have and you expect them to live up to that level. But also, you are willing to cut them a little slack because you know the pressure is coming from the other side. Is that accurate?
Maranda Holder: Yes. Absolutely.
Have you met a healthcare hero?
Rob Oliver: Okay. In your healthcare experience, have you met a healthcare hero?
Maranda Holder: I really enjoy the provider I work for. However, to not be swayed professionally as a patient, I have not. I have met one doctor recently, in the last couple of years with certain things that have happened to me, that I thought really did his job. I’m not saying that he went super above and beyond, but at the very least, I thought he did really well at his job, which is more than I can say for some others recently. So when you say he did well at his job, what does that mean? In March of 2020, I got COVID and probably about not even a full three months. I started experiencing numbness and it started from my feet and worked its way all the way up to the middle of my abdomen. So I went to a spinal doctor and they took x-rays and they were like, you’re at the wrong place, you want to go to a neurologist. So I went to a neurologist. His name is Stacy Epps. He thought it was transverse myelitis from the beginning, but he wanted to make sure that he wasn’t jumping the gun. So really, I went through all the different options, MRIs, different testing just to make sure that it wasn’t other things, because he wasn’t sure if it could have been slow progressing, MS or something like that. So I thought he really thoroughly checked all the avenues before he settled on transverse myelitis. And to me, that means a lot, because I felt like he listened to me. I felt like he went through all the avenues he could possibly.
Rob Oliver: Right. So it was he had a gut feeling about it.
Maranda Holder: Yeah.
Rob Oliver: And then he proceeded to do. Have you heard the story of Thomas Edison in trying to find the right filament for a light bulb? Have you heard that story?
Maranda Holder: Uh-uh.
Rob Oliver: So he went through like 9000 different materials to use as the filament in a light bulb. And he wasn’t wasn’t getting where he needed to be. And his assistant asked him if he was frustrated having gone through 9000 different, you know, 9000 different materials and like. And he said, no, I’m I’m very excited. We have successfully eliminated 9000 things that don’t work. Right. So what you’re what your doctor is doing is very similar in saying, OK, I think this is what it is, but let’s also eliminate what it’s not. Is that accurate?
Maranda Holder: Yes. Yes, I think so.
Your definition of Quality Health Care
Rob Oliver: OK. Well, good. So what does quality health care mean to you?
Maranda Holder: I think that’s a hard one to me, it is. Being… to know that I’ve been heard as far as whatever the ailment is at the time. And that, like I said, you you make it through all the different avenues to find what’s wrong, then there may not always be a cure for what is what is happening. But at the very least, you’ve you’ve. Conquered all the options. And to me, that’s that’s quality and bedside manner never hurts.
Rob Oliver: Right. OK, I want to go back. And I think part of this question is relates back to what you talked about early, say, because you’re in the health care system. You have higher expectations. Can you can you talk about what you mean when you say that you have higher expectations?
Maranda Holder: I work in a slightly smaller office. Chain of command is three people at the most. So it’s very hard for something to get lost in the shuffle. Whereas bigger offices, you know, you call a voicemail, you leave a number, you get a call back from a nurse, maybe sometime, you know, stuff like that. And you may not even always be talking to the doctor or it may not even get that far. I don’t. I don’t think as a patient, you don’t want to feel like your doctor isn’t getting everything that’s coming from you. So if I if I feel that way, then then it’s it’s I feel like it should be. I feel like it should be a priority.
Rob Oliver: OK. I think that what you’re saying speaks volumes to the fact that it speaks to your own personal. Thoughts about your dedication to the quality of your work and your. Your value or your understanding of. What is expected? In in the environment that you work in, does that resonate with you?
Maranda Holder: Yes. Yes, I’ve worked in in larger offices and depending on how things work. Like I said, the the the chain of command somewhere between like four and five people. Well. If number two writes it on a note on our desk and forgets about it, you know, you don’t hear back for another week. And who knows? Who knows what could have happened in life or life or death, saying like not everything is life or death, but some things are. And if you get missed for a week, that can cause serious problems. And so I just I have higher expectations when it comes to that.
Rob Oliver: OK. And I mean, this is oversimplifying it probably. But they say that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. And when you’re talking about chain of command, that that chain of command is only as strong as its weakest link. And so when things are traveling up the chain and they and it stops or it gets stuck, then that’s that’s going to have a major impact on the care that that individual is receiving.
Maranda Holder: Yes, absolutely.
What do you wish your health care provider understood about you?
Rob Oliver: OK. Got it. What do you wish your health care provider understood about you?
Maranda Holder: I feel like. Pain in general is a heart issue, because a lot of people are. Jaded by those who are just seeking meds and that kind of thing. So the moment you say you’re having just. Severe pain, it’s it’s not necessarily treated as such. It’s more like, well, how can we figure out that it’s really this much pain? And do you really need the medicine and do that kind of thing? So I kind of wish my my health care provider knew that. I particularly am not a liar when I’m having severe pain. It’s not often, but when it happens, it happens. That’s usually what happens with me in in general, like I don’t get hit with a lot of stuff, but when I get hit, I get hit hard and and for a while. So I think that would be part of it. And also that. I guess it would really be that. The the jadedness towards those in pain. Because that could be really hard to deal with.
Rob Oliver: Yeah, so what I’m hearing you say is that there. That they doubt the patient’s word and and maybe maybe it’s because. The longer that people are in the health care system, you use the word jaded. And they they begin to think. They they begin to think that anyone who comes in complaining of pain is just trying to, you know, trying to pick up some pain meds, right? Does that… is that accurate?
Maranda Holder: Yes, yes.
Rob Oliver: And so then they’re they’re a little bit more willing to dismiss it and say, OK, well, yeah, it is probably not as bad as what you’re saying. You’re just trying to get one over on us. And that’s that is so unfortunate and so difficult.
Improving the Patient Experience
Rob Oliver: What is one thing medical professionals can start doing today to improve the quality of health care?
Maranda Holder: I’m not sure if it would be a horrible idea, really, but I can see where the idea of having. Not universal health care, not in that direction. But like one health care system where everything is combined and compiled that way, if I decide to go to St. Francis to get blood work done over here, then somebody in an HCA facility would still see it. You know, they would still know every time pain medication. Perfect. Every time a pain medication is prescribed, every provider would know about it.
Rob Oliver: Right. OK, so you’re talking about. Are you talking about like electronic health records that are that are maintained within one system and that there’s no. And you’re saying there’s no crossover between the two systems. Right. Is that right?
Maranda Holder: Yes. I think that would be super beneficial. I can see where it can you can get into like violations of HIPAA and that sort of thing. I just think it would be so much simpler for a patient to be able to go wherever they are. They need to be able to go. And that provider be able to help them to the best of their abilities, knowing all their previous ailments, knowing what medicines they take. We get patients all the time that have no idea what the names of the meds are, no idea what the name of the surgery was, but it was on my stomach, you know, stuff like that. So if you don’t know what’s wrong with you or what you’re taking or how often you’re taking it, my doctor necessarily can’t help you because it might interfere with stuff that you are taking. So I think that would be super beneficial.
Rob Oliver: So you’re saying they basically have to have to take some ownership of their own care. Is that what you’re saying?
Maranda Holder: I, I would love to say that, but people don’t do that, so it would be just as easy to have one health care system so that we’re able to treat them properly, since if you were like a one, two kind of thing, it’s all the time. People don’t know what’s wrong with them. They don’t pay attention. They expect that the provider should know, even if I don’t tell you, you should just know what’s wrong with me. So, and if I want you to know this, then I want you to know this, but if I don’t want you to know that I’m diabetic, then I’m not going to tell you. So there’s a lot, I mean, there’s, and there’s a lot involved with that. So I just think it would be so much simpler and easier to be able to treat people properly.
Rob Oliver: Wonderful. Maranda, thank you so much for joining me today. I appreciate your time. I appreciate your support in this. I will say I appreciate you sharing your perspective on health care. Love to you. Love to Jesse. Give him a hug from me and look forward to talking to you again.
Maranda Holder: Okay. Have a good one.
Rob Oliver: You too. Bye bye.
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.