In a few weeks, we will have ghosts, goblins, witches, superheroes and a variety of other little characters roaming our neighborhoods in search of sweets and treats. Since we first arrived in Aspen nearly two decades ago, with our own candy beggars, my wife and I have noticed this valley really enjoys celebrating Halloween. Not just the kids, but people of all ages enjoy the festivities. For me, even though our kids are now grown and living somewhere else, I consider Halloween to be an essential part of fall, which I declared last month is my favorite season. There is a spirit (pardon the pun) of celebration and frivolity that I find energizing while evoking many fond memories of my own childhood and those of our children. One thing that Halloween has never been for me is spooky.
Healthcare, on the other hand, can be very spooky to most. There is much we don’t know and don’t understand about our own bodies, including how we age and when we will be diagnosed with something scary. In today’s internet era, we often double-down on our fear when we conduct our own internet searches and discover all the horrible experiences that others have had with seemingly (but not necessarily) similar symptoms or diagnoses. It’s like reading ghost stories that conjure up dark and horrible possibilities. While I don’t always heed my own advice, I frequently advise others to not go down the WebMD rabbit hole until after being presented with facts by a trained physician or healthcare professional, and even then, by only utilizing reputable and vetted sources of information.
The burden, then, is on our healthcare delivery system to provide timely facts and reduce the “sleepless night syndrome” associated with delayed diagnoses and poor communications. At Aspen Valley Hospital, we strive to be better, much better than our industry, by having the technology and experts to provide timely diagnostics, along with caring providers who connect with each patient as an individual. In this month’s enewsletter, in fact, we support Breast Cancer Awareness Month and share a wonderful new technology we have added to our breast program, a wire-free localization system called SCOUT. As you will learn, we have comprehensive breast diagnostic capabilities backed-up by expert breast radiologists who interpret the tests, and a board-certified breast surgeon, Dr. Betsy Brew. Now add SCOUT, which is a game changer for patients and clinicians, making a stressful part of the breast cancer journey less so, and improving surgical precision and outcomes.
Our AVH Network of Care also includes an advanced primary care practice, which along with community physicians, is your healthcare partner who can provide support and navigation through all phases of your own health journey. You’ll meet Dr. Patric Knecht, our newest family medicine physician who joins our Aspen Valley Primary Care team with experience treating diverse populations and patients with chronic conditions. Whether you live in Aspen, or just spend time here, we highly recommend having a relationship with a local primary care provider who will be there should you ever receive a spooky diagnosis, and will help you practice strong prevention to improve your chances of avoiding one.
We hope you enjoy this month’s issue, and have a safe and happy Halloween!