The Farm: Member Spotlight Interview
This independent and unbiased health advisory firm is based out of NYC and provides a wide range of services to help you find your feet and get the help or advice you need.
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If you or a loved one gets hit with a bad diagnosis or a health emergency, you may not know where to start. The healthcare system is a complicated one, you’re scared and probably not thinking straight - plus you may not understand the terminology the doctors are firing at you as you try to work out the best course of action to take.
This is where Better Health Advisors can help. This independent and unbiased health advisory firm is based out of New York City and provides a wide range of services to help you find your feet and get the help or advice you need.
It’s also a highly personalized service. Whether you want to know the best way to stay healthy, help to understand a new diagnosis or identify the best way to manage an existing condition, you’ll have someone on your side.
We spoke to the founder and CEO of Better Health Advisors, John Samuels, to find out more.
Why did you decide to start Better Health Advisors?
For years, people have been calling me when they are faced with a healthcare problem. Our healthcare system is large and complex, and everyone wants to make sure they have the best doctor, expert advice when making important healthcare decisions, and guidance with health insurance. I started Better Health Advisors because I saw a clear gap in the market. People need help navigating the system, and I can help.
How does it work?
Better Health Advisors offers a number of different service plans depending on client needs. Often someone approaches me after being diagnosed with a complicated or scary healthcare issue, like cancer. I first meet with the client and their family to understand their unique medical needs and situation. I liaise with their doctors and providers and assess the quality of care the client is currently receiving. Based on this information, I’ll work with my medical team to develop and execute a plan to meet the client’s individual needs.
I’ve developed quite a robust network of doctors and other healthcare providers during my 20 years working in healthcare, so I’m able to help my clients quickly access top doctors. I make every effort to accompany my clients to their appointments so that I can make sure that they are asking all of the right questions. I also provide plain English explanations of their situation and prognosis to help clients ultimately make an informed decision about their healthcare.
Is this sort of work in demand?
Since everyone is vulnerable to illness, there is no shortage of demand for my services. Every day more and more clients reach out to me looking for help. We have all experienced how complex and confusing the healthcare system can be and having an expert by your side when you or a loved one is ill is truly invaluable. However, health advisory services are relatively new, so most people don’t know that we exist. Our greatest challenge is getting the word out and making people aware of our services.
What makes you different from the competition?
I provide a high quality, individualized service that my competitors simply cannot match. I closely interact with every client and make sure they can contact me at any time. I am there to answer questions 24/7 and I am personally invested in each and every client. Most importantly, I have deep knowledge about the health care system and have relationships with top doctors and hospitals all over the New York City.
What do you find challenging about your work?
The most challenging part of my work is spreading the word about my company and communicating how a health advisor can make difficult situations easier. A good health advisor can literally save your life. I’m part of a small group of dedicated healthcare professionals who are creating an industry that helps people to access better care. I’m honored to serve on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants, an organization committed to health advocacy.
And what's the best bit?
The best part is changing people’s lives and helping people get better. It’s rewarding to make an impact and give people hope, especially after they've felt lost within the system. I love seeing patients maximize their use of the healthcare system and knowing that I was part of that. For 20 years, I worked to improve healthcare for institutions; now I get to see firsthand the impact that improved healthcare has on people’s lives.
What do you wish people knew about Better Health Advisors?
I wish that more people knew about private health advisors in general. I know there are millions of people out there who are struggling to navigate the healthcare system on their own, and they have no idea that there is someone who can help.
If you're not a healthcare professional, you should have one on your side. That is the only way to know that you are in fact getting high-quality healthcare.
Tell me about the people you've met
I’ve met some amazing people through this work. One of the most amazing was a client who we will call Tracy. Tracy was a healthy 41-year old executive who had a sudden cardiac incident while at the gym and was rushed to the ER early on a Saturday morning. Alone and scared, she called us.
We immediately got her in touch with one of our doctors who contacted the ER where she was being treated. Our doctor actually knew the doctor treating her in the ER and consulted with her doctor. We were able to gather important details of her condition and confirm that she was getting the right attention. We made sure she was transferred and admitted to a hospital with doctors who we knew and where she would get great care, and we explained to her the need for various tests and procedures in a way she could better understand. She was greeted at the transferring hospital by a warm and informed team. We were with her every step of the way for the next few days and weeks to make sure she was getting high-quality care. In what could have been a frightening situation, we were there for Tracy.
Tracy had a successful cardiac procedure several weeks later and is now back at the gym.
What does the future hold for Better Health Advisors?
Better Health Advisors is expanding quickly and acquiring new clients every day. We just celebrated our one-year anniversary and are excited to further build our team so we can care for more people.