Heat and Health advisory

Summer is officially here with hot days ahead!

Dr. Alvarez advices you check the forecast and plan ahead. If you have a lung condition, an autoimmune disease, allergies or neuropathic symptoms, being out in the heat ( even just to and from your car ) can be a major flare trigger. Plan your errands around daily temperatures. You might check the air quality index at the airnow.gov website.

This summer, we will offer early morning or evening appointments upon request. If you are due for a medication check in or refill or your annual exam , don’t let the weather keep you from scheduling. Give us a call or send a portal appointment request and we will do our best to accommodate you.

Mindfulness in March

“The path to healthy body, and happy soul is based upon self-study, mindfulness, love and awareness.”
– unknown

Happy March from Partners in Wellness!

How are your 2018 Health and Wellness goals coming along?                                                                                                                        Just a reminder to come in and discuss barriers to your goals or just to share in your successes and take something from my ” you are doing an AWESOME job” basket!

If at the end of the day, week, month, year we can look back at maybe just one mindful moment that helped change our pathway… we will have accomplished much.
Look for a mindful quote here each week this month in an effort to move us in that direction.  If you have one to share, please send it my way!
In wellness, Dr. Alvarez

“Wherever you are, be there totally.”
– Eckhart Tolle

PORTAL Update!

Our Athena Portal just had a new release and some functionality has changed, for the most part, to improve efficiency. PLEASE NOTE: YOU CAN “check in” online, BEFORE your appointment. PLEASE do help us by using this function – it allows us to confirm any changes you may have had, It gives you a place to document briefly what you are coming in for, you can even pay your copay on line, AND there is a link to complete and update your HEALTH HISTORY QUESTIONNAIRE.
FOR ALL NEW PATIENTS and all ANNUAL EXAMs/PHYSICALs of returning partners, Please DO update this if you will BEFORE the appointment date. **You do not have to worry about specific dates of surgeries/ procedures/ immunizations etc. We will fill in those for accuracy at your appointment.
I do find the social history update is the one that changes most often and ask that you fill this section in , as well as for women the Gynecological history. PLEASE phone our office if you are having problems with this process so we can walk you thru it, again to give you more time in the visit with Dr. Alvarez, and less at the front desk on our tablet.
**PLEASE NOTE – for the Health history questionnaire, this is not a function you can do on your cell – Please use a tablet or desktop or laptop.

THANK YOU partners for continued active participation ! The portal ( your open medical record and mode of non urgent communication with Dr. Alvarez) is a crucial part of how to keep the practice efficient.

Inclement Weather Conditions and Office Policy

Here at Partners in wellness, we always look forward to your visit. We wanted to post this message in effort to keep you safe in any potential risky weather conditions this season. Please note that in general, it is our office policy to follow the Portland Public School action for any given bad weather day. For example, if they are on a 2 hour delay, we will also be on a 2 hr delay, if they are closed for the day, we will also likely be closed. For certain, you will be contacted by Dr Alvarez or her staff to clarify and to reschedule if appropriate. Please do not hesitate to contact us as well, via portal message or phone message.
In wellness, and safety ~
Dr. Kathy Alvarez and staff

Cold and Flu Season 2016

The holiday season brings with it celebrations, family and friend gatherings, cold weather, and the not so fun part: respiratory infections.
How do you know if it is a cold or the flu?
The common cold and the flu (or influenza) are both contagious respiratory illnesses caused by viruses. They share many similar symptoms, but the diagnosis and treatment differ.
Here are a few tips, but always call your doctor for more information if you are not sure.
Cold symptoms are generally milder. They develop slowly and can include: fever up – low grade , runny or stuffy nose (often with green- or yellow-colored discharge), sore throat, cough, sneezing and just feeling exhausted.
The Flu symptoms are more severe, and often come on suddenly: fever over 102°F, stuffy nose, nausea, chills and sweats, fatigue, muscle aches, especially in your back, arms and legs, cough, headache, loss of appetite, vomiting in some cases.
Consider a call to our clinic if you are not certain , OR If you have an underlying medical condition such as asthma, age > 60, or diabetes, which may put you at greater risk of secondary infection. It is recommended that you consider evaluation.
Until you see the doctor, rest, hydrate, avoid alcohol and tobacco. Taking over the counter cold medications may help, but have caution if you have a medical condition such as high blood pressure.
Most important is a preventative approach – good hand washing, stress management and good nutrition.
Schedule your annual exam today if you have not had one this year, and we can review more preventative strategies specific to your needs.
In wellness,
Dr. A

Patient Portal… how to access information and improve communication

THANK YOU for working with us through the transition of electronic medical record and the new patient portal. We are just into 6 months and still have some logistics to work out. I hope you will find it helpful. Here are some tips and reminders. I am open to your feedback as well!
Notification to Dr. Alvarez – It is OK to portal message a medical issue, but nothing urgent please, do use the phone messaging, as Portal messages are usually responded to in a 2-3 day period. It may be more often, but it varies with the number of incoming messages!
RE: your VISIT SUMMARY – what I find to be the most important part of our visit, where I document the plan we came up with. I try to get this to you within 24 hours, you should see it will pop up as a message, or you will see it in your INBOX. It may take me another day to complete – then YOU WILL FIND THIS in your portal under ” MY HEALTH” – case summary, under the date of visit. If you do not see it there , please message our office. You may also find it helpful to glance at it just before you
Obtaining your lab results – Thank you for patience in this, Dr. Alvarez reviews labs as they come in and will add comments and send it to portal. This process can take 1-2 weeks most of the time due to a number of factors. We are notified if there is anything urgent or significantly abnormal and will for certain contact you sooner if that is the case. In addition, if you are awaiting a result for a treatment plan, such as Strep throat, wound or urine culture etc. You will usually be reminded to PHONE us if you have not heard from my office within 2 days.
There is a patient health questionnaire that I ask you to fill out either at new visit or at annual exam. This will be asked of you only once a year. We are still working on the problems in this system. As with all things new and electronic there are some lessons to be learned…. THANK you again for helping me keep it FUN as we learn together!! ~