A 62-year-old man who had not been to the doctor in three years came to see Jeff Panzer, MD, at Erie Family Health Center. At the patient's first appointment, a medical assistant followed the practice's clinic protocol for in-reach panel management. By the fourth visit, the patient was diagnosed with diabetes, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and fatty liver. Dr. Panzer started the patient on several new medications and fast-tracked him into the care of a rheumatologist. All things considered, Dr. Panzer felt good about the care that he and his team were providing to the patient. Then, Dr. Panzer received the patient's abnormal stool test result. The patient had blood in his stool, and a subsequent colonoscopy revealed that he had colon cancer. Using the practice's standard clinical protocol and in-reach approach, the medical assistant conducted this life-saving preventive care without Dr. Panzer having to order the test himself. Thanks to the medical assistant, the cancer was caught early, and the patient made a full recovery.
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