From our Continuity of Care coordinator, Marcela Toro Bejarano:
The Continuity of Care Program was established to improve the quality of care delivered to our patients at WCCC by pairing them with first and second year medical students. Sometimes certain barriers such as language and education differences or the complexity of the healthcare system may hinder effective healthcare delivery. However, when patients see a familiar face every time they come to the clinic, it may give them a sense of security, which may facilitate the interaction with their physicians. CoC students are able form a special rapport with their patient, which allows them to understand the difficulties their patient must go through beyond their disease. Having this special bond also incites students to advocate for their patient every step of the way. My role as coordinator is to assist students with any complications they may encounter. I am also responsible of recruiting students from the upcoming class who are interested in the program and identifying potential patients that may benefit from it.
In addition to being the CoC coordinator, I am also paired with a non-English speaking patient. It is very rewarding to know that she feels less anxious every time she comes to the clinic because someone speaks her language and is able to understand her without any barriers. I make sure she understands the doctor’s diagnosis and the course of action of her treatment. I also try to call her regularly to ensure that she is feeling well and that she is adhering to her medication. It is because of this experience that I know the positive correlation that continuity of care has with high quality of care, and I believe this is an invaluable knowledge to have this early in our career as future physicians.